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LIFE  OF  JOHI  RUDOLPH. 

VOL.  II. 


the  new  yorkI 
PUBLICUBRARY 


A8T0*,  LENOX  AND 
TILOEN  FOUNDATIONS. 


I 


THE   LIFE 


OF 


JOHN    RANDOLPH 


OF   ROANOKE. 


BY 

HUGH   A.   GAKLAND. 


VOL.  II. 


KEW-YOEK: 
D.  APPLETON  &  COMPANY,  200  BROADWAY. 

PHILADELPHIA : 
GEO.  S.  APPLETON,  164  CHESNUT-STREET. 

M.DCCC.L.      / 


>V 


THENEWYORK 

PUBLIC  LIBRARY 


-  /  UOJUK 

A8TOR,   LfNOX  anO 

TILDE N  FOU*QATION8. 

1*00. 

^>    "         '      i         ii  ■ 


Entered,  according  to  Act  of  Congress,  in  the  year  1850,  by 

D.  APPLETON  &  COMPANY, 

in  the  Clerk's  Office  of  the  District  Court  for  the  Southern  District  of  New-York. 


CONTENTS  OF  VOL.  II. 


PAGE, 

CHAPTER  I. 
Roanoake — Retirement         .......         9 

CHAPTER  II. 
Ancestral  pride— St.  George— Madness  ....  36 

CHAPTER  III. 
Military  Campaign  .......        44 

CHAPTER  IV. 
New  England        ........  49 

CHAPTER  V. 
Religion— 1815 62 

CHAPTER  VI. 
Political  Reflections— Congress — Bank  Charter  ...  70 

CHAPTER  VII. 
Religion— Home— Solitude  ......       85 

CHAPTER  VIII. 
"Dying,  Sir— Dying"  ......  89 

CHAPTER  IX. 
Conversion  ........        94 


6  CONTENTS. 


PAGE 


CHAPTER  X. 
Idiosyncracies      ........  104 

CHAPTER  XI. 
Congress— Political  Parties  ......      112 

CHAPTER  XII. 

Missouri  Question  .  .  .  .  .  ,  .  H8 

CHAPTER  XIII. 
Compromise  Bill  smuggled  through  the  House      ....      127 

CHAPTER  XIV. 
"  I  now  go  for  blood  "—Madness      ......      136 

CHAPTER  XV. 
Missouri  Question— Act  the  Second       .....  139 

CHAPTER  XVI. 
"  Be  not  solitary ;  he  not  idle"— His  Will— Slaves  .  .  .145 

CHAPTER  XVII. 
Log-book  and  Letters  ......  152 

CHAPTER  XVIII. 
The  Apportionment  Bill       .......      161 

CHAPTER  XIX. 

Pinckney,  Marshall,  Tazewell— Departure  for  Europe  .  .  169 

CHAPTER  XX. 
The  Voyage .      172 

CHAPTER  XXI. 
Incidents  in  England  ......  185 

CHAPTER  XXII. 

Eighteenth  Congress— Consolidation  is  the  order  of  the  day—"  Speak  a 
cheering  word  to  the  Greeks  "  .....  193 


CONTENTS. 


7 

PAGE 


CHAPTER  XXIII. 
Internal  Improvements  ......      201 

CHAPTER  XXIV. 
Supreme  Court— Dull  dinner— Huddlesford's  Oak       .  .  .  209 

CHAPTER  XXV. 
Tariff— Prophecy — Lewis  McLean  .....      214 

CHAPTER  XXVI. 
Second  Voyage  to  Europe  ......  219 

CHAPTER  XXVII. 
Presidential  Election  .......      227 

CHAPTER  XXVIII. 
"Such constituents  as  man  never  had  before,  and  never  will  have  again "      233 

CHAPTER  XXIX. 

The  Adams  Administration  .    .  .  .  .  .  .      241 

CHAPTER  XXX. 

The  Panama  Mission— Blifil  and  Black  George  .  .  .  249 

CHAPTER  XXXI. 
Duel  with  Henry  Clay  .  .  .  .  .  .  .      254 

CHAPTER  XXXII. 
Negro  Slavery  .......  261 

CHAPTER  XXXIII. 
Letters  from  Abroad  .......      269 

CHAPTER  XXXIV. 
Ejection  from  the  Senate  ......  275 

CHAPTER  XXXV. 
Election  to  the  House  of  Representatives  ....      289 


8  CONTENTS. 


PAGE 


CHAPTER  XXXVI. 

Leader  of  the  Opposition— A  wise  and  masterly  inactivity     .  .  298 

CHAPTER  XXXVII. 
Letters  from  Roanoke  .......      307 

CHAPTER  XXXVIII. 
Presidential  Election— Retirement  from  Congress         .  .  .  311 

CHAPTER  XXXIX. 
Elected  to  the  Convention  ......      321 

CHAPTER  XL. 

The  Virginia  Convention — Every  change  is  not  reform  .  .  324 

CHAPTER  XLI. 
Mission  to  Russia  .......      332 

CHAPTER  XLII. 
Opium  Eater  .  .  .....  343 

CHAPTER  XLIII. 
The  Consummation  .......      350 

CHAPTER  XLIV. 
"  I  have  been  sick  all  my  life  "—Death  ....  364 


CHAPTEK    I. 


ROANOKE — RETIREMENT. 


We  have  now  to  view  Mr.  Randolph  in  a  new  aspect.  After  an  ac- 
tive, uninterrupted,  and  eventful  career  of  fourteen  years  in  the  pub- 
lic service,  in  one  of  the  most  remarkable  epochs  of  human  history, 
we  have  now  to  follow  him  into  retirement.  The  triumph  of  his  en- 
emies at  the  recent  election  had  no  power  to  shake  the  firmness  of 
his  purpose,  or  to  disturb  the  serenity  of  his  mind.  "  It  relieves  me 
from  an  odious  thraldom,"  says  he,  "  and,  I  assure  you,  my  dear  sir, 
I  have  thought  and  yet  think,  much  more  of  the  charming  Mrs.  Gr. 
than  of  the  election.  The  low  and  base  arts  to  which  my  adversa- 
ries have  resorted,  have  not  raised  them  or  sunk  me  in  my  own  esti- 
mation." 

At  home  he  lived  in  the  utmost  seclusion  and  solitude.  Up  to 
1810  he  made  Bizarre  his  principal  place  of  residence.  Here  he 
eDJoyed  the  best  of  female  society,  for  which  no  man  had  a  higher 
relish — found  employment  in  the  education  of  his  young  nephews, 
the  future  heirs  of  his  name  and  fortune,  and  on  whom  he  doted 
with  the  fondness  of  a  father ;  and  solace  for  his  leisure  hours  in  a 
large  miscellaneous  library,  and  the  society  and  conversation  of  old 
neighbors  and  well-tried  friends.  In  1810  he  removed  to  Roanoke, 
his  estate  in  Charlotte  county,  on  the  Roanoke  river,  some  thirty- 
five  or  forty  miles  south  of  Bizarre ;  "  a  savage  solitude"  says  he, 
"  into  which  I  have  been  driven  to  seek  shelter."  Shortly  before  the 
recent  election,  on  Sunday,  March  21,  1813,  the  house  at  Bizarre 
took  fire — the  family  were  at  church — very  little  saved.  "  I  lost,"  says 
he,  "  a  valuable  collection  of  books.  In  it  was  a  whole  body  of  infi- 
delity, the  Encyclopedia  of  Diderot  and  D'Alembert,  Voltaire's  works, 

VOL.  II.  1* 


10  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

seventy  volumes,  Rousseau,  thirteen  quartos,  Hume,  &c,  &c."  By 
this  calamity,  if  calamity  it  may  be  called  (some  of  his  friends  con- 
gratulated him  on  the  event),  he  was  deprived  of  the  chief  source  of 
pleasure  and  amusement  in  his  comfortless  home.  The  only  com- 
panion of  his  solitude  was  Theodore  Bland  Dudley,  a  young  relation 
he  had  taken  to  live  with  him  in  1800.  He  educated  this  young 
man  with  much  care  and  at  great  expense.  He  manifested  towards 
him  the  solicitude  and  affection  of  a  fond  father — his  letters  are 
models  of  parental  instruction.  Dudley  had  recently  graduated  in 
medicine  at  Philadelphia,  and  returned  to  console  the  solitary 
hours  of  his  best  and  most  constant  friend.  "  Consider  yourself," 
said  Randolph  to  him,  "  as  not  less  entitled  to  command  here,  than 
if  you  were  the  child  of  my  loins,  as  you  are  the  son  of  my  affec- 
tions." Apart  from  the  society  of  this  young  man,  which  he  valued 
above  all  price,  his  only  real  enjoyment  was  in  the  correspondence  of 
some  two  or  three  of  his  most  intimate  friends,  to  whom  he  un- 
bosomed himself  with  a  fulness  and  a  freedom  that  showed  in  a 
remarkable  degree  the  strength  and  constancy  of  his  attachment, 
and  the  unbounded  confidence  he  had  in  the  fidelity  and  integrity  of 
those  men.  To  none  did  he  speak  or  write  more  unreservedly  than 
to  Dr.  John  Brockenbrough,  the  President  of  the  Bank  of  Virginia. 
No  wonder,  for  his  siqoerior  is  not  to  be  found — a  man  of  rare  tal- 
ents, varied  learning,  large  experience  in  the  business  of  life,  refined 
manners,  delicate  sensibility,  a  perfect  gentleman  and  a  faithful 
friend.  "  Cherish  the  acquaintance  of  that  man,"  he  exhorts  Dudley  ; 
"  he  is  not  as  other  men  are."  In  writing  to  this  gentleman  he  says  : 
"  Your  two  letters,  the  last  of  which  I  received  this  evening  by  my 
servant,  have  given  me  a  degree  of  satisfaction  that  I  find  it  diffi- 
cult to  express.  Let  me  beg  a  continuance  of  these  marks  of  your 
remembrance  and  friendship.  At  all  times  they  would  be  highly  ac- 
ceptable ;  but  in  my  present  isolated  state — a  state  of  almost  total 
dereliction — they  are  beyond  price.  I  should  have  thanked  you  for 
your  letter  by  the  post,  through  the  same  channel,  but  I  was  induced 
from  its  contents  to  suppose  that  you  would  have  left  Richmond  be- 
fore my  answer  could  reach  it ;  and  I  wish  that  you  had,  because  I 
may  be  debarred  the  pleasure  of  seeing  you  and  Mrs.  B.  at  my  lonely 
and  (as  it  will  probably  appear  to  you  both)  savage  habitation.  It  is 
therefore  that  this  letter  is  written.     You  will  not  wonder,  when  you 


RETIREMENT.  H 

see  how  I  live,  at  my  reluctance  to  leave  you,  and  I  was  going  to  say 
my  other  friends  in  Richmond.  It  is  indeed  a  life  of  seclusion  that 
I  live  here,  unchequered  by  a  single  ray  of  enjoyment.  I  try  to  for- 
get myself  in  books  ;  but  that  '  pliability  of  man's  spirit'  which 
yields  him  up  to  the  illusions  of  the  ideal  world,  is  gone  from  me  for 
ever.  The  mind  stiffened  by  age  and  habit  refuses  to  change  its  ca- 
reer. It  spurns  the  speculative  notions  which  hard  experience  has 
exploded  ;  it  looks  with  contempt  or  pity,  in  sorrow  or  in  anger, 
upon  the  visionary  plans  of  the  youthful  and  sanguine.  My  dear 
sir,  '  there  is  another  and  a  better  world,'  and  to  it  alone  can  we 
look  without  a  certainty  of  disappointment,  for  consolation,  for  mer- 
cy, for  justice."  On  another  occasion  he  says  :  "  I  passed  but  an  in- 
different night,  occasioned,  in  a  great  measure,  by  the  regret  I  feel  at 
leaving  such  friends  as  yourself  and  Mrs.  Brockenbrough,  and  at  the 
prospect  of  passing  my  time  in  that  utter  solitude  of  my  comfortless 
habitation,  where  I  have  prepared  for  myself,  by  my  own  folly,  many 
causes  of  uneasiness.  If  I  had  followed  old  Polonius's  advice,  and 
been  '  to  mine  own  self  true,'  I  might  have  escaped  the  lot  which 
seems  to  be  in  reserve  for  me." 

To  another  friend,  Francis  S.  Key,  of  Washington  City,  he  writes 
more  cheerfully.  His  letters  to  that  gentleman  about  this  time  were 
very  frequent  and  copious ;  they  show  more  fully  the  workings  of 
his  mind.  We  shall  draw  largely  on  the  correspondence  for  the  in- 
struction of  the  reader. 

In  one  of  his  letters  he  gives  a  description  of  his  habitation,  the 
log  cabins,  and  the  boundless  primeval  forest  by  which  they  were 
surrounded.  In  reply,  Key  says,  "  I  could  not  help  smiling  at  the 
painting  you  have  given  me  of  Roanoke — laudat  diversa  sequentes. 
To  me  it  seemed  just  such  a  shelter  as  I  should  wish  to  creep  under, 

"  A  boundless  contiguity  of  shade, 
Where  rumor  of  oppression  and  deceit 
Might  never  reach  me  more." 

In  reference  to  the  recent  election  he  thus  writes  ■ 

Roanoke,  May  10.  1813. 
Dear  Frank  : — For  so,  without  ceremony,  permit  me  to  call  yon. 
Among  the  few  causes  that  I  find  for  regret  at  my  dismissal  from 
public  life,  there  is  none  in  comparison  with  the  reflection  that  it  has 


12  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

separated  me — perhaps  for  ever — from  some  who  have  a  stroDg  hold 
on  my  esteem  and  on  my  affections.  It  would  indeed  have  been 
gratifying  to  me  to  see  once  more  yourself,  Mr.  Meade,  Ridgely,  and 
some  few  others ;  and  the  thought  that  this  may  never  be,  is  the  only 
one  that  infuses  any  thing  of  bitterness  into  what  may  be  termed 
my  disappointment,  if  a  man  can  be  said  to  be  disappointed  when 
things  happen  according  to  his  expectations  ;  on  every  other  account, 
I  have  cause  of  self-congratulation  at  being  disenthralled  from  a 
servitude  at  once  irksome  and  degrading.  The  grapes  are  not  sour 
— you  know  the  manner  in  which  you  always  combated  my  wish  to 
retire.  Although  I  have  not,  like  you,  the  spirit  of  a  martyr,  yet  I 
could  not  but  allow  great  force  to  your  representations.  To  say  the 
truth,  a  mere  sense  of  duty  alone  might  have  been  insufficient  to 
restrain  me  from  indulging  the  very  strong  inclination  which  I  have 
felt  for  many  years  to  return  to  private  life.  It  is  now  gratified  in 
a  way  that  takes  from  me  every  shadow  of  blame.  No  man  can 
reproach  me  with  the  desertion  of  my  friends,  or  the  abandonment 
of  my  post  in  a  time  of  danger  and  of  trial.  «  I  have  fought  the 
good  fight,  I  have  kept  the  faith."  I  owe  the  public  nothing ;  my 
friends,  indeed,  are  entitled  to  every  thing  at  my  hands  ;  but  I  have 
received  my  discharge,  not  indeed  honestam  dimissionem,  but  passa- 
ble enough,  as  times  go,  when  delicacy  is  not  over  fastidious.  I  am 
again  free,  asit  respects  the  public  at  least,  and  have  but  one  more 
victory  to  achieve,  to  be  so  in  the  true  sense  of  the  word.  Like  yourself 
and  Mr.  Meade,  I  cannot  be  contented  with  endeavoring  to  do  good  for 
goodness'  sake,  or  rather  for  the  sake  of  the  Author  of  all  goodness. 
In  spite  of  me,  I  cannot  help  feeling  something  very  like  contempt 
for  my  poor  foolish  fellow-mortals,  and  would  often  consign  them  to 
Bonaparte  in  this  world,  and  the  devil,  his  master,  in  the  next ;  but 
these  are  but  temporary  fits  of  misanthropy,  which  soon  give  way  to 
better  and  juster  feelings. 

When  I  came  away  I  left  at  Crawford's  a  number  of  books,  let- 
ters, papers,  &c.  in  (and  out  of)  an  open  trunk ;  also  a  gun,  flask, 
shot-belt,  &c.  Pray  take  them  in  charge  for  me,  for  although  one- 
half  of  them  are  of  no  consequence,  the  rest  are  ;  and  you  may  justly 
ask  why  I  have  been  so  careless  respecting  them  ? — because  I  am 
the  most  lazy  and  careless  man  on  earth  (La Bruyere'sabsent  man  is 
nothing  to  me),  and  because  I  am  in  love.  Pray  give  the  letters 
special  protection. 

To  the  same. 

Roanoke,  May  22,  1813. 
My  dear  Friend  : — Your  letter  being  addressed  to  Farmville, 
did  not  reach  me  until  yesterday,  when  my  nephew  brought  it  up. 
Charlotte  Court  House  is  my  post-office.     By  my  last  you  will  per- 


RETIREMENT.  13 

ccive  that  I  have  anticipated  your  kind  office  in  regard  to  my  books 
and  papers  at  Crawford's  :  pray  give  them  protection  -  until  the 
Chesapeake  shall  be  fit  for  service."  It  is,  I  think,  nearly  eight  years 
since  I  ventured  to  play  upon  those  words  in  a  report  of  the  Secre- 
tary of  the  Navy.  I  have  read  your  letter  again  and  again,  and 
cannot  express  to  you  how  much  pleasure  the  perusal  has  given  me. 

I  had  taken  so  strong  a  disgust  against  public  business,  con- 
ducted as  it  has  been  for  years  past,  that  I  doubt  my  fitness  for  the 
situation  from  which  I  have  been  dismissed.  The  House  of  R  was 
as  odious  to  me  as  ever  school-room  was  to  a  truant  boy.  To  be 
under  the  dominion  of  such  wretches  as  (with  a  few  exceptions) 
composed  the  majority,  was  intolerably  irksome  to  my  feelings  ;  and 
although  my  present  situation  is  far  from  enviable,  I  feel  the  value 
of  the  exchange.  To-day,  for  the  first  time,  we  have  warm  weather : 
and  as  I  enjoy  the  breeze  in  my  cool  cabin,  where  there  is  scarce  a 
fly  to  be  seen,  I  think  with  loathing  of  that  "  compound  of  villanous 
smells"  which  at  all  times  inhale  through  the  H.  of  R.,  but  which  in 
a  summer  session  are  absolutely  pestilential.  Many  of  those,  too. 
whose  society  lessened  the  labors  of  our  vocation  are  gone  ;  Bleecker, 
Elliott,  Quincy,  Baker,  and  (since)  Bayard ;  so  that  I  should  find 
myself  in  Congress  among  enemies  or  strangers.  Breckenridge. 
Stanford,  and  Ridgely,  and  Lloyd  in  the  Senate,  are  left ;  and  I  am 
glad  that  they  are  not  in  a  minority  so  forlorn  as  the  last.  They 
have  my  best  wishes — all  the  aid  that  I  shall  ever  give  to  the  public- 
cause.  The  great  master  of  political  philosophy  has  said  that 
':  mankind  has  no  title  to  demand  that  we  should  serve  them  in  spite 
of  themselves."  It  is  not  upon  this  plea,  however,  that  I  shall  stand 
aloof  from  the  bedside  of  my  delirious  country.  My  course  is  run. 
I  acquiesce  in  the  decision  that  has  been  passed  against  me,  and  seek 
neither  for  appeal  nor  new  trial. 

I  shall  not  go  northward  until  towards  the  autumn,  when  I  must 
visit  Philadelphia.  My  late  friend  Clay's  youngest  son  will  return 
with  me  ;  and  that  journey  over,  I  shall  probably  never  cross  James 
River  again. 

You  are  mistaken  in  supposing  that  ':  we  Virginians  like  the  war 
better  the  nearer  it  approaches  us ;"  so  far  from  it,  there  is  a  great 
change  in  the  temper  of  this  State,  and  even  in  this  district,  para- 
doxical as  it  may  seem,  against  the  war.  More  than  half  of  those 
who  voted  against  me,  were  persuaded  that  I  was  the  cause  of  the 
war  ;  that  the  Government  wished  for  peace  (e.  g.  the  Russian  Em- 
bassy), but  that  I  thwarted  them  in  every  thing,  and  that  without 
unanimity  amongst  ourselves,  peace  could  not  be  obtained.  If  you 
are  accmainted  with  Daschoff,  tell  him  that  the  Russian  mediation 
was  (strange  as  it  may  appear)  made  the  instrument  of  my  ejection 
It  gave  a  temporary  popularity  to  the  ministry — the  people  believing 


14  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

that  peace  was  their  object.  Its  effoct  on  the  elections  generally 
has  boen  very  great.  Some  were  made  to  believe  that  the  British 
fleet  in  the  Chesapoake  was  to  aid  my  election. 

My  kinsman,  Dudley — now  M.  D. — is  with  me,  and  his  society 
serves  to  cheer  the  solitude  in  which  I  am  plunged.  He  desires  to 
be  remembered  to  you.  Present  my  best  love  to  Mrs.  Key  and  the 
little  folks.  When  you  see  the  family  at  Blenheim,  present  me  to 
them — also  to  Mr.  Stone — and  believe  me,  always,  dear  sir,  and  most 
affectionately, 

Yours 

John  Randolph  of  Roanoke. 

To  tJie  Same. 

May  23d,  1813. 

Your  letter  of  the  14th  was  received  to-day — many  thanks  for  it. 
By  the  same  mail,  Mr.  Quincy  sent  me  a  copy  of  his  speech  of  the 
30th  of  last  month.  It  is  a  composition  of  much  ability  and  depth 
of  thought ;  but  it  indicates  a  spirit  and  a  temper  to  the  North  which 
is  more  a  subject  of  regret  than  of  surprise.  The  grievances  of  Lord 
North's  administration  were  but  as  a  feather  in  the  scale,  when  com- 
pared with  those  inflicted  by  Jefferson  and  Madison. 

I  fervently  hope  that  we  may  meet  again.  I  do  not  wish  you  so 
ill  as  to  see  you  banished  to  this  Sinope ;  and  yet  to  see  you  here 
would  give  me  exceeding  great  pleasure.  Every  blessing  attend 
you. 

Francis  Scott  Key,  Esq. 


John  Randolph  to  Dr.  John  Brockenbrovgh. 

Roanoke,  June  2d,  1813. 

I  did  not  receive  your  letter  of  the  26th  until  last  evening,  and 
then  I  was  obliged  for  it  to  my  good  old  neighbor,  Colonel  Morton, 
who  never  omits  an  occasion  of  doing  a  favor,  however  small.  The 
gentleman  by  whom  you  wrote  is  very  shy  of  me  ;  nor  can  I  blame 
him  for  it.  No  man  likes  to  feel  the  embarrassment  which  a  con- 
sciousness of  having  done  wrong  to  another  is  sure  to  inspire,  and 
which  the  sight  of  the  object  towards  whom  the  wrong  has  been  done 
never  fails  to  excite,  in  the  most  lively  and  painful  degree. 

My  neighbor,  Colonel  C k,  who  goes  down  to  Petersburg  and 

Richmond  to-morrow,  enables  me  (after  a  fashion)  to  answer  your 
question,  "  How  and  where  I  shall  pass  the  summer  months  ?"  To 
which  I  can  only  reply — as  it  pleases  God  !  If  I  go  to  any  watering- 
place,  it  will  be  to  our  hot  springs,  for  the  purpose  of  stewing  the 
rheumatism  out  of  my  carcase,  if  it  be  practicable. 


RETIREMENT.  15 

It  would  have  been  peculiarly  gratifying  to  me  to  have  been  with 

you  when  Leigh,  Garnett,  W.  Meade,  and,  I  must  add.  31 .  were 

in  Richmond.  If  we  exclude  every  "  party-man,  and  man  of  am- 
bition," from  our  church,  I  fear  we  shall  have  as  thin  a  congregation 
as  Dean  Swift  had,  when  he  addressed  his  clerk,  ';  Dearly  beloved 
Roger  !"  What  I  like  M for,  is  neither  his  courtesy,  nor  his  in- 
telligence, but  a  certain  warm-heartedness,  which  is  now-a-days  the 
rarest  of  human  qualities.  His  manner  I  think  peculiarly  un- 
fortunate. There  is  an  ostentation  of  ornament  (which  school-boys  lay 
aside  when  they  reach  the  senior  class),  and  a  labored  infelicity  of 
expression,  that  is  hateful  to  one's  feelings.  We  are  in  terror  for  the 
speaker.  But  this  fault  he  has  already  in  some  degree  corrected  j 
and  by  the  time  he  is  as  old  as  you  or  I,  it  will  have  worn  off.  I  was 
greatly  revolted  by  it  on  our  first  acquaintance,  and  even  now,  am 
occasionally  offended  ;  but  the  zeal  with  which  he  devotes  himself  to 
the  service  of  his  friends  and  of  his  country,  makes  amends  for  all. 
It  is  sometimes  a  bustling  activity,  of  little  import  to  its  object,  but 
which  is  to  be  valued  in  reference  to  its  motive. 

I  am  not  surprised  at  what  you  tell  me  of  our  friend.  We  live 
in  fearful  times,  and  it  is  a  perilous  adventure  that  he  is  about  to  un- 
dertake. In  a  few  years  more,  those  of  us  who  are  alive  will  have  to 
move  off  to  Kaintuck,  or  the  Massissipjri,  where  corn  can  be  had  for 
sixpence  a  bushel,  and  pork  for  a  penny  a  pound.  I  do  not  wonder 
at  the  rage  for  emigration.  What  do  the  bulk  of  the  people  get 
here,  that  they  cannot  have  for  one-fifth  of  the  labor  in  the  western 
country  ?  Surely  that  must  be  the  Yahoo's  paradise,  where  he  can 
get  dead  drunk  for  the  hundredth  part  of  a  dollar. 

What  you  tell  me  of  Milnor  is  quite  unexpected.  He  was  one  of 
the  last  men  whom  I  should  have  expected  to  take  orders ;  not  so 
much  on  account  of  his  quitting  a  lucrative  profession,  as  from  his 
fondness  for  gay  life.  I  am  not  sure  that  it  is  the  safest  path.  The 
responsibility  is  awful — it  is  tremendous. 

Thanks  for  your  intelligence  respecting  my  poor  sister.  If  hu- 
man skill  could  save  her,  Dr.  Robinson  would  do  it ;  but  there  is 
nothing  left,  except  to  smooth  her  path  to  that  dwelling  whither  we 
must  all  soon  follow  her.  I  can  give  Mrs.  B.  no  comfort  on  the  sub- 
ject of  her  son.  For  my  part,  it  requires  an  effort  to  take  an  inte- 
rest in  any  thing  ;  and  it  seems  to  me  strange  that  there  should  be 
found  inducements  strong  enough  to  carry  on  the  business  of  the 
world.  I  believe  you  have  given  the  true  solution  of  this  problem,  by 
way  of  corollary  from  another,  when  you  pronounce  that  free-will  and 
necessity  are  much  the  same.  I  used  formerly  to  puzzle  myself,  as 
abler  men  have  puzzled  others,  by  speculations  on  this  opprobrium 
of  philosophy.  If  you  have  not  untied  the  Gordian  knot,  you  have 
cut  it,  which  is  the  approved  methodus  medendi  of  this  disease. 


16 


LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 


Write  to  me  when  you  can  do  no  better.  Worse  you  cannot  do 
for  yourself,  nor  better  for  me.  You  can't  imagine  what  an  epoch 
in  my  present  life  a  letter  from  you  constitutes.  If  I  did  not  know 
that  you  could  find  nothing  here  beyond  the  satisfaction  of  mere 
animal  necessity;  I  should  entreat  Mrs.  B.  and  yourself  to  visit  my 
solitary  habitation.     May  every  blessing  attend  you  both. 

Yours,  unchangeably, 

John  Randolph  of  Roanoke. 

John  Randolph  to  Francis  S.  Key. 

Roanoke,  July  17th,  1813 

Dear  Frank, — I  rode  twenty  miles  this  morning,  in  the  hope  of 
receiving  letters  from  some  of  those  few  persons  who  honor  me  with 
their  regard.  Nor  have  I  been  disappointed.  Your  letter,  and  one 
from  Dr.  B.,  had  arrived  a  few  moments  before  me.  I  received  the 
pamphlets  through  friend  Stanford,  who  has  too  much  on  his  hands 
to  think  of  me  every  post ;  and  I  am  not  at  all  obliged  to  the  gentle- 
man who  detained  them  on  their  passage,  and  who  annotated  one  of 
them,  I  suppose  for  my  edification.  It  is  certainly  not  all  emenda- 
tion, for  this  critical  labor. 

I  heartily  wish  that  I  were  qualified  in  any  shape  to  advise  you 
on  the  subject  of  a  new  calling  in  life.     Were  I  Premier,  I  should 
certainly  translate  you  to  the  see  of  Canterbury ;  and  if  I  were  not 
too  conscious  of  my  utter  incompetency,  I  should  like  to  take  a  pro- 
fessorship in  some  college  where  you  were  principal ;  for,  like  you, 
"  my  occupation  (tobacco-making)  is  also  gone."     Some  sort  of  em- 
ployment is   absolutely  necessary  to   keep  me  from  expiring  with 
ennui.     I  "  see  no  reviews,"  nor  any  thing  else  of  that  description. 
My  time  passes  in  uniform  monotony.     For  weeks  together  I  never 
see  a  new  face ;  and,  to  tell  you  the  truth,  I  am  so  much  of  Captain 
Gulliver's  way  of  thinking  respecting  my  fellow-Yahoos,  (a  few   ex- 
cepted, whose  souls   must  have   transmigrated   from   the   generous 
Houyhnhnms,)  that  I  have  as  much  of  their  company  as  is  agreeable 
to  me,  and  I  suspect  that  they  are  pretty  much  of  my  opinion  ;  that  I 
am  not  only  ennuye  myself,  but  the  cause  of  ennui  in  others.     In 
fact,  this  business  of  living  is,  like  Mr.  Barlow's  reclamations  on  the 
French  Government,  dull  work ;  and  I  possess  so  little  of  pagan 
philosophy,  or  of  Christian  patience,  as  frequently  to  be  driven  to 
the  brink  of  despair.     "  The  uses  of  this  world  have  long  seemed  to 
me  stale,  flat,  and  unprofitable ;"  but  I  have  worried  along,  like  a 
worn-out  horse  in  a  mail  coach,  by  dint  of  habit  and  whipcord,  and 
shall  at  last   die  in  the  traces,  running  the  same  dull  stage,  day 
after  day. 


RETIREMENT. 


17 


When  you  see  Kidgely,  commend  me  to  him  and  his  amiable 
wife.  I  am  really  glad  to  hear  that  he  is  quietly  at  home,  instead  of 
scampering  along  the  bay  shore,  or  inditing  dispatches.  Our  upper 
country  has  slid  down  upon  the  lower.  Nearly  half  our  people  are 
below  the  falls.  Both  my  brothers  are  gone  ;  but  I  must  refer  you 
to  a  late  letter  to  Stanford,  for  the  state  of  affairs  hereabouts. 
Henry  Tucker  is  in  Richmond ;  Beverly  at  Norfolk ;  whence,  if  he 
return,  he  will  win  his  life  with  the  odds  against  him. 

I  am  much  pleased  with  Mr.  Gaston's  speech  on  Webster's  mo- 
tion. Chief  Justice  Marshall  had  taught  me  to  think  highly  of  his 
abilities ;  and  my  expectations,  although  raised,  have  not  been  dis- 
appointed. 

I  have  seen  the  scotched  tail  of  Mr.  Secretary  M 's  report  to 

his  master,  which  drags  its  wounded  length  along  most  awkwardly. 
I  should  like  to  hear  what  Mons.  Serrurier  would  say.  Mr.  Rus- 
sell and  the  Duke  of  Bassano  are,  it  seems,  confronted  across  the 
Atlantic.  I  should  be  glad  to  have  his  Imperial  and  Royal  Majes- 
ty's Envoy  called  into  court,  and  examined  touching  Mr.  M 's 

declaration.  *  *  * 

Nicholson  has  luckily  shifted  his  quarters,  from  an  exposed  to  a 
very  safe  position,  where  he  may  reflect  undisturbed  on  the  train  of 
measures  which  have  issued  in  the  present  unparalleled  state  of 
things.  With  me,  he  condemned  them  at  the  beginning,  but  gradu- 
ally coincided  with  the  views  of  the  administration.  He  may  live  to 
see  the  time  when  he  will  wish  that  he  had  steadily  opposed  himself  to 
them.  I  would  not  give  the  reflection  that,  under  every  circumstance 
of  discouragement,  I  never  faltered  or  wavered  in  my  opposition  to 
them,  to  be  president  for  life.  Nearly  eight  years  ago  the  real  views 
and  true  character  of  the  Executive  were  disclosed  to  me,  and  I  made 
up  my  mind  as  to  the  course  which  my  duty  called  upon  me  to  fol- 
low. I  predicted  the  result  which  has  ensued.  The  length  of  time 
and  vast  efforts  which  were  required  to  hunt  me  down,  convince  me 
that  the  cordial  co-operation  of  a  few  friends  would  have  saved  the 
Republic.  Sallust,  I  think,  says,  speaking  of  the  exploits  of  Rome, 
'  Egregiam  virtutem  paucorum  civium  cuncta  patiavisse  ;'  and  if  those 
who  ought  to  have  put  their  shoulders  to  the  work,  had  not  made  a 
vain  parade  of  disinterestedness  in  returning  to  private  life,  all  might 
have  been  saved.  But  the  delicacy  and  timidity  of  some,  and  the 
versatility  of  others,  insured  the  triumph  of  the  court  and  the  ruin 
of  the  country.  I  know  not  how  I  got  upon  this  subject.  It  is  a 
most  unprofitable  one. 

Farewell,  my  good  friend,  and  believe  me,  in  truth 

Yours, 

John  Randolph  of  Roanoke. 


IS  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

Have  you  met  with  a  queer  book,*  by  a  Mr.  James  Fishback, 
of  Lexington.  Kentucky  ?  He  very  politely  sent  me  a  copy,  and  ac- 
companied it  with  a  letter,  in  which,  like  the  rest  of  his  brethren,  he 
flatters  himself  that  his  book  will  be  generally  read,  and  (of  course) 
productive  of  great  benefit.  It  is  a  most  curious  work  for  a  lawyer 
(a  Kentucky  lawyer  I  mean),  for  such  it  seems  he  is,  and  brother-in- 
law  to  Mr.  Pope,  late  of  the  Senate.  I  have  dipped  into  it  here  and 
there,  and  whatever  may  be  the  skill  displayed  in  its  execution,  the 
object  I  think  is  a  good  one.  The  man  has  thought  much — but  I 
doubt  if  clearly.  Like  many  other  writers  in  the  same  walk  of  com- 
position, he  appears  not  always  to  affix  a  precise  meaning  to  his 
terms. 

Sunday.     Post  in — not  a  line  or  newspaper  from  Washington. 


Francis  S.  Key  to  J.  Randolph. 

Georgetown,  August  30,  1813. 
My  Dear  Friend —  *  *  *  As  you  appeared  to  be  tired  of  the 
country,  I  thought  it  likely  you  would  have  begun  before  now  your 
journey  to  Cambridge,  and  hoped  to  have  seen  you  as  you  passed.     I 
have  less  regard  for  those  Eastern  people  now  than  I  used  to  have, 
and  should  care  less  about  seeing  them  or  their  country.     I  cannot 
help  suspecting  them  of  selfish  views,  and  that,  if  they  can  collect 
strength  enough,  they  will  separate.     Their  policy  has  certainly  been 
a  crooked  one.     The  Quarterly  Reviewers  say  well  that  the  expedi- 
ent of  driving  the  administration  into  the  war  for  the  purpose  of 
making  them  unpopular  was  "  dangerous  and  doubtful."     They  might 
have  added  that  it  was  dishonest.     Certainly,  the  sort  of  opposition 
they  are  making  now  is  one  from  which  nothing  good  can  be  expected. 
There  was  old ,  the  other  day,  while  I  was  at  Fredericks- 
town,  travelling  out  of  his  road,  and  giving  up  his  passage  in  the 
stage,  and  then  travelling  post  to  overtake  it,  and  all  to  eat  a  dinner 

given  by  some  of  Mr.  's  tools,  apparently  to  him,  but  in  fact  to 

give  eclat  to  his  "  distinguished  young  friend,"  and  help  on  his 
intrigues.  I  believe  this  old  man  is  honest,  but  can  he  be  so  vain  as 
to  run  panting  after  praise  in  this  way  ?  or  is  he  told  and  does  he 
believe  that  people  are  to  be  driven  from  their  opinions  and  made  to 

fall  into  the  ranks  behind  him  and   Mr. and  his  Boston  party, 

whenever  he  chooses  to  show  himself? 

I  suppose  Stanford  told  you  that  I  was  half  inclined  to  turn  poli- 
tician. I  did  feel  something  like  it— but  the  fit  is  over.  _  I  shall,  I 
hope,  stay  quietly  here,  and  mind  my  business  as  long  as  it  lasts      I 

*  The  title  of  the  work  is  "  The  Philosophy  of  the  Human  Mind  in  respect  to 
Religion." 


RETIREMENT  19 

have  troubled  myself  enough  with  thinking  what  I  should  do — so  I 
shall  try  to  prepare  myself  for  whatever  may  appear  plainly  to  be  my 
duty.  That  I  must  make  some  change,  if  the  war  lasts  much  longer 
(as  I  think  it  will),  is  very  probable ;  but  whether  it  shall  be  for  a 
station  civil,  military,  or  clerical,  I  will  not  yet  determine.  To  be 
serious,  I  believe  that  a  man  who  does  not  follow  his  own  inclina 
tions,  and  choose  his  own  ways,  but  is  willing  to  do  whatever  may  be 
appointed  for  him,  will  have  his  path  of  life  chosen  for  him  and 
shown  to  him,  and  I  trust  this  is  not  enthusiasm. 

Our  friend  Ridgely  has  really  turned  politician.  He  is  a  candi- 
date for  the  Maryland  Legislature,  and  it  is  thought  will  be  elected. 
I  hardly  know  whether  to  wish  he  may  succeed  or  not.  He  has  some 
good,  and,  indeed,  most  excellent  equalities  for  such  a  place,  but  he 
wants  others,  and  will  have  few,  if  any,  worthy  of  his  confidence,  to 
join  him  in  a  stand  against  the  folly  and  wickedness  of  both  parties. 
His  situation  will  be  peculiarly  difficult  and  disagreeable,  requiring 
great  prudence  and  self-command.  I  know  some  of  the  men  he  will 
have  to  deal  with,  who  are  as  cunning  as  he  is  unsuspicious. 

Lloyd  was  here  the  other  day.  I  was  sorry  I  was  out  of  town,  as 
I  should  have  liked  to  have  seen  him.  He  told  Mrs.  Key  he  believed 
you  had  given  him  up.  and  complained  that  you  never  wrote  to  him. 
She  told  him  you  almost  always  inquired  of  him  in  your  letters  to 
me,  and  mentioned  what  you  said  in  your  last  about  your  observation 
in  Congress,  at  which  he  laughed.  I  make  great  allowances  for 
Lloyd's  wrongheadedness.  The  federalists  flattered  and  supported 
him — he  was  moderating  in  his  opinions,  but  did  not  abandon  his 
party — he  still  called  himself  a  democrat — this  affronted  them,  and 
at  the  next  session  they  all  voted  against  him.  This  conduct  was 
calculated  to  convince  him  that  their  former  support  was  an  artifice, 
that  they  wished  to  dupe  him,  and  expected  their  favors  had  bought 
him  off  from  his  party.  At  the  same  time  the  federal  newspapers 
opened  their  abuse  upon  him,  which  was  gross,  false,  and  abominable. 

Now,  when  all  this  is  considered,  I  think  he  cannot  yet  be  thought 
incorrigible.  He  has  had  no  chance  of  judging  coolly  and  dispassion- 
ately. I  am  convinced,  though  (N.'s)  influence  with  him  is  great,  it 
would  never  (but  for  these  things)  have  been  sufficient  to  keep  him 
among  the  supporters  of  such  a  party.  A  man  could  not  long  be  so 
blind  to  his  own  interest,  and  that  of  the  country,  but  by  his  passions 
and  prejudices  being  continually  excited. 


Randolph  to  Key. 

Roanoke,  Sept.  12,  1813 
Dear  Frank — I  had  almost  begun  to  fear  that  you  had  forgotten 
me,  but  this  morning's  mail  brought  me  yours  of  the  30th  of  August. 


20  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

Our  post-office  establishment  is  under  shameful  mismanagement. 
To-day  I  received  a  letter  from  Boston,  post-marked  Aug.  22d,  and 
last  week  I  got  one  from  the  same  place  marked  Aug.  23d.  I  still 
keep  up  an  intercourse,  you  see,  with  the  head-quarters  of  good  prin- 
ciples— for  although  I  do  not  dabble  in  politics,  "  I  have  more  regard 
for  these  Eastern  people  now  than  I  used  to  have  "  Of  the  policy 
of  driving  the  administration  into  war,  I  have  the  same  opinion  that 
you  emote  from  the  Quarterly  Review.  It  was  a  crooked  scheme, 
and  has  met  its  merited  fate.  But,  my  dear  friend,  great  allowance 
is  to  be  made  for  men  under  the  regime  of  Clay,  Grundy  &  Co. ;  and 
besides  a  few  individuals  only  are  answerable  for  the  consequences  of 
this  tortuous  policy.  The  great  bulk  of  the  Eastern  States  are  guilt- 
less of  the  sin.  When  I  consider  how  much  more  these  people  have 
borne  from  the  pettifoggers  of  the  West,  than  they  would  submit  to 
from  Lord  North  :  and  reflect  that  there  is  no  common  tie  of  inter- 
est or  of  feeling  between  them  and  their  upstart  oppressors,  I  cannot 
pronounce  them  (in  this  instance  at  least)  to  be  selfish.  Indeed,  I 
should  not  like  them  less  if  they  were  so — I  am  becoming  selfish  my- 
self (when  too  late),  and  bitterly  regret  that  I  did  not  practise  upon 
this  principle  many  years  ago.  On  this  scheme  I  have  abandoned 
politics  for  ever — and  for  the  same  reason  should  be  sorry  to  see  you, 
or  our  noble,  spirited  friend,  Sterritt  Ridgely,  engaged  in  their  pur- 
suit. I  have  more  faith  in  free  will  than  you  seem  to  express — for  I 
believe  we  have  it  all  in  our  power  to  choose  wisely  if  we  would.  As 
to  Ridgely,  he  is  utterly  unfit  for  public  life.  Do  you  ask  why  1 
You  have  partly  answered  the  question.  He  is  too  honest,  too  un- 
suspicious, too  deficient  in  cunning.  I  would  as  soon  recommend 
such  a  man  to  a  hazard-table  and  a  gang  of  sharpers,  as  to  a  seat  in 
any  deliberative  assembly  in  America. 

Our  quondam  friend  Lloyd — for  "  quondam  friends  are  no  rarity 
with  me" — I  made  this  answer  at  the  ordinary  at  our  court,  to  a  gen- 
tleman who  had  returned  from  Rappahannock,  and  told  me  that  he 
had  seen  some  of  my  quondam  friends.  It  was  casually  uttered,  but 
I  soon  saw  how  deep  it  was  felt  by  a  person  at  table,  whom  I  had  not 
before  observed.  To  return  to  Lloyd.  He  cannot,  with  any  show 
of  justice,  complain  of  "my  giving  him  up.;>  The  saddle  is  on  the 
other  horse.  He  is  a  spoiled  child  of  fortune,  and  testy  old  bachelors 
make  a  poor  hand  of  humoring  spoiled  children.  Lloyd  required  to 
be  flattered,  and  I  would  not  perform  the  service.  I  would  hold  no 
man's  regard  by  a  base  tenure.  I  see  that  Ridgely  stands  commit- 
ted to  abide  the  issue  of  an  election.  I  am  sorry  for  it  for  his  own 
sake,  and  yet  more  on  account  of  Mrs.  R.  Electioneering  is  upon 
no  very  pleasant  footing  any  where  ;  but  with  you,  when  the  "  base 
proletarian  rout"  are  admitted  to  vote,  it  must  be  peculiarly  irksome 
and  repugnant  to  the  feelings  of  a  gentleman. 


RETIREMENT. 


21 


I  am  highly  pleased  with  the  XlVth  number  of  the  Quarterly 
Review,  particularly  the  article  on  the  subject  of  the  poor  laws  ;  aud 
that  on  the  literature  of  France  during  the  past  century.  Alas  !  for 
Walter  Scott  !  These  learned  reviewers  cannot  prevail  upon  me  to 
';  revive  the  opinion"  which  the  first  reading  (or  attempt  at  reading) 
Rokeby  produced.     It  is  beneath  criticism. 

My  will,  but  not  my  poverty,  consents  to  my  eastern  tour.  Our 
blessed  rulers  have  nearly  ruined  me,  and  should  the  war  be  protracted 
much  longer,  I  must  go  into  some  business,  if  there  be  any  for  which 
I  am  fit.  My  body  is  wholly  worn  out,  and  the  intellectual  part 
much  shattered.  Were  I  to  follow  the  dictates  of  prudence,  I  should 
convert  my  estate  into  money,  and  move  northwardly.  Whether  I 
shall  have  firmness  and  vigor  enough  to  execute  such  a  scheme,  re- 
mains to  be  seen.  My  bodily  infirmities  are  great  and  rapidly  in- 
creasing, so  that  it  will  be  impossible  for  me  to  sustain  existence  here 
when  deprived  of  field  exercises.  I  write  now  under  the  pressure  of 
severe  headache.  You  are  not  my  physician,  yet  I  cannot  omit  telling 
you  that  I  am  afflicted  with  a  strange  anomalous  disease.  It  is  of 
the  heart ;  the  most  violent  palpitations,  succeeded  by  a  total  suspen- 
sion of  its  functions  for  some  seconds :  and  then,  after  several  sud- 
den spasmodic  actions,  the  pulse  becomes  very  slow,  languid,  and 
weak.  When  the  fit,  is  on,  it  may  be  seen  through  my  dress  across 
the  room.  It  was  this  demon  that  put  it  out  of  my  head  to  suggest 
to  you  the  practical  wisdom  of  damping  the  opposition  to  the  govern- 
ment at  this  time.  Of  the  print  in  question,  I  think  nearly  as  you 
do;  but  it  has  done  a  deal  of.good  with  some  mischief,  and  perhaps  in 
the  attempt  to  do  more.  How  was  the  last  administration  over- 
thrown, do  you  suppose  1  By  rejecting  proffered  service  from  any 
quarter  ?  Had  the  Aurora  no  agency,  think  you,  in  the  work  ?  "  Ho- 
mo sum :"  man  must  work  with  mortal  means.  Not  choosing  to  use 
such,  I  am  idle.      When  administration  call  to  their  aid  the  refuse 

of  New  England  in  the  persons  of  the _ 

and  opposition  reject  the  aid,  or  stand  aloof  from  such  high-minded, 

honorable  men  as  S ,  K ,  G ,  Q ,  L , 

0 ■ — -,  L ,  P ,  what  can  be  expected  but  defeat  ?     It 

is  as  if  in  the  Southern  States  the  assistance  of  the  whites  should  be 
rejected  against  an  adversary  that  embodied  the  negroes  on  his  side. 
Be  assured  that  nothing  can  be  done  with  effect,  without  union  among 
the  parts,  however  heterogeneous,  that  compose  the  opposition.  They 
have  time  enough  to  differ  among  themselves  after  they  shall  have  put 
down  the  common  foe  ;  and  if  they  must  quarrel,  I  would  advise  them 
to  adjourn  the  debate  to  that  distant  day. 

I  wish  I  could  say  something  of  my  future  movements.  I  look 
forward  without  hope.  Clouds  and  darkness  hang  upon  my  pros- 
pects ;  and  should  my  feeble  frame  hang  together  a  few  years  longer. 


22  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

the  time  may  arrive  when  my  best  friends,  as  well  as  myself,  may 
pray  that  a  close  be  put  to  the  same. 

My  best  respects  and  regards  to  Mrs.  Key,  and  love  to  the  young 
folks.     I  fear  I  shall  live  to  see  you  a  grandfather.     Farewell. 

J.  R.  of  Roanoke. 


To  the  same. 

Roanoke,  Sept.  26,  1813. 

Dear  Frank. — You  owe  the  trouble  of  this  letter  to  another 
which  I  threw  upon  your  shoulders  some  time  ago.  As  the  shooting 
season  approaches.  I  am  reminded  of  my  favorite  gun,  &c,  in  George- 
town. 'Tis  true  I  have  a  couple  of  very  capital  pieces  here,  but 
neither  of  them  as  light  and  handy  as  that  I  left  at  Cranford's,  and  I 
fear  it  may  be  injured  or  destroyed  by  rust — verbum  sat. 

We  have  to-day  the  account  of  Perry's  success  on  Lake  Erie, 
which  will  add  another  year  to  the  life  of  the  war.  Have  you  seen 
"Woodfall's  Junius  2  The  private  correspondence  has  rsised  the  cha- 
racter of  this  mysterious  being  very  much  in  my  estimation.  If  you 
will  pardon  the  apparent  vanity  of  the  declaration,  it  has  reminded 
me  frequently  of  myself.  I  hope  he  will  never  be  discovered.  I 
feel  persuaded  that  he  was  an  honest  man  and  a  sincere  patriot,  which 
heretofore  I  was  inclined  to  doubt.  We  have  been  flooded.  This 
river  has  not  been  so  high  since  August,  1795.  A  vast  deal  of  corn 
is  destroyed.  I  fear  I  have  lost  500  barrels,  and  eighty  odd  stacks 
of  oats. 

In  tenderness  to  you,  I  have  said  nothing  of  Rokeby.  Alas  ! 
"  good  Earl  Walter  dead  and  gone  /"     God  bless  you  ! 

J.  R. 

Best  love  to  Mrs.  Key,  and  Ridgley,  when  you  see  him. 


John  Randolph  to  Dr.  John  Brockenbrough 

Roanoke,  Oct.  4,  1813 
My  dear  Friend  : — By  this  time  I  trust  you  have  returned  to 
Richmond  for  the  winter.  It  has  been  a  grievous  separation  from 
you  that  I  have  endured  for  the  last  two  months.  In  this  period  I 
have  experienced  some  heavy  afflictions,  of  which  no  doubt  common 
fame  has  apprised  you,  and  others  that  she  knows  not  of.  Let  us 
not  talk,  and,  if  possible,  not  think  of  them.  I  hope  that  Mrs.  B. 
has  derived  every  possible  advantage  from  her  late  excursion.  As- 
sure her  from  me,  that  she  has  no  friend  who  is  more  sincerely  inter- 
ested in  her  temporal  and  eternal  happiness  than  myself.  Absorbed 
as  I  may  be  supposed  to  be  with  my  own  misfortunes,  I  live  only  for 


RETIREMENT.  23 

my  friends.  They  are  few,  but  they  are  precious  beyond  all  human 
estimation.  Write  to  me  I  beg  of  you  ;  the  very  sight  of  your  hand- 
writing gives  a  new  impulse  to  my  jaded  spirits.  I  would  write,  but 
I  cannot.  I  sometimes  selfishly  wish  that  you  could  conceive  of  my 
feelings.  It  is  not  the  least  painful  of  my  thoughts  that  I  am  per- 
petually destined  to  be  away  from  the  sympathy  of  my  friends,  whilst 
I  am  deprived  of  every  thing  but  affection  towards  them. 

Yours  truly, 

John  Randolph  of  Roanoke. 


Mr.  Randolph  filed  away  his  letters  with  great  care.  He  in- 
dorsed on  them  the  name  of  the  author,  the  date,  the  time  it  was 
received  and  answered  ;  and  if  the  letter  contained  any  subject  of 
special  interest,  it  was  in  like  manner  noted.  On  the  following  let- 
ter was  indorsed  "  Party  Spirit ;"  the  words  were  underscored,  and 
in  addition  was  the  figure  of  a  hand,  with  the  index  finger  pointing 
to  them. 

F.  S.  Key  to  John  Randolph. 

Georgetown,  Oct.  5,  1813. 

My  dear  Sir  : — I  was  thinking  of  your  gun  a  few  days  before  I 
received  your  letter,  and  determined  to  rub  off  some  of  your  rust, 
and  try  if  I  could  kill  Mrs.  Key  a  bird  or  two.  She  has  just  given 
me  another  son,  and  of  course  deserves  this  piece  of  courtesy.  As 
to  amusement  in  shooting,  I  have  lost  it  all,  though  once  as  ardent  a 
sportsman  as  yourself.  I  am  pleased  to  find  that  you  are  anticipat- 
ing such  pleasures,  as  I  therefore  hope  that  the  complaint  you  men- 
tioned in  your  former  letter  has  left  you.  Exercise  will  no  doubt 
tend  to  relieve  you. 

I  have  never  read  the  private  correspondence  of  Junius.  I  have 
a  late  edition,  and  will  see  if  it  contains  it.  I  was  always  against 
Junius,  having  sided  with  Dr.  Johnson  and  his  opponents.  There 
was,  I  know,  great  prejudice,  and  perhaps  nothing  else  in  this,  but 
since  the  prejudice  has  worn  away  I  have  had  no  time  to  read  so 
long  a  book.  The  article  you  speak  of  in  the  Quarterly  Review  (on 
the  Poor  Laws)  I  admire,  and  assent  to  more  cordially  than  any 
thing  on  the  subject  I  ever  saw.  It  excited  my  interest  greatly. 
"What  sound  and  able  men  are  engaged  in  that  work !  I  know  none 
who  are  offering  so  much  good  to  their  country  and  the  world,  and  I 
will  not  suffer  myself  to  believe  that  it  is  thrown  away.  As  to  their 
rivals,  the  Edinburgh  Reviews,  I  believe  we  should  differ  in  opinion. 
I  consider  them  as  masked  infidels  and  Jacobins :  and  if  I  had  time, 


24  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

and  it  was  worth  while,  I  think  I  could  prove  it  upon  them.  I  would 
refer  to  the  review  of  the  life  of  Dr.  Beatty,  and  of  Coclebs,  and  a  few 
others,  to  prove  that  either  knowingly,  or  ignorantly  (I  have  hardly 
charity  enough  to  believe  the  latter),  they  have  misrepresented  and 
attacked  Christianity.  Were  you  not  pleased  with  the  spirited 
defence  against  them  which  the  Quarterly  reviewers  have  made  for 
Montgomery  1  As  to  Walter  Scott,  I  have  always  thought  he  was 
sinking  in  every  successive  work.  He  is  sometimes  himself  again  in 
'•  Marmion"  and  the  "  Lady  of  the  Lake  ;"  but  when  I  read  these, 
and  thought  of  the  "  Lay  of  the  Last  Minstrel,"  it  always  seemed  to 
me  that  "  hushed  was  the  harp — the  minstrel  gone."  I  believe  I 
am  singular  in  this  preference,  and  it  may  be  that  I  was  so  "  spell- 
bound" by  "  the  witch  notes"  of  the  first,  that  I  could  never  listen  to 
the  others.  But  does  it  not  appear  that  to  produce  one  transcend- 
ently  fine  epic  poem  is  as  much  as  has  ever  fallen  to  the  life  of  one 
man  1  There  seems  to  be  a  law  of  the  Muses  for  it.  I  was  always 
provoked  with  him  for  writing  more  than  his  first.  The  top  of  Par- 
nassus is  a  point,  and  there  he  was,  and  should  have  been  content. 
There  was  no  room  to  saunter  about  on  it;  if  he  moved,  he  must 
descend ;  and  so  it  has  turned  out,  and  he  is  now  (as  the  Edinburgh 
reviewers  say  of  poor  Montgomery)  "  wandering  about  on  the  lower 
slopes"  of  it. 

I  have  not  seen  nor  heard  of  Ridgley  since  his  political  campaign 
commenced.  It  closed  yesterday,  and  we  have  not  yet  heard  how  he 
has  fared.  There  is  a  report  in  town  of  the  federalists  having  suc- 
ceeded  in  Frederick,  which  I   expected  would   be   the  case   from 

P 's  having  had  the  folly  and  meanness  to  go  all  over  the  county 

making  speeches.  Ridgley's  election  is  more  doubtful,  as  the  ad- 
ministration are  very  strong  in  his  county.  If  he  is  elected,  you 
will  write  to  him,  but  don't  discourage  him  too  much.  If  he  can 
command  his  temper,  and  be  tolerably  prudent,  I  think  he  may  do 
some  good.  If  cunning  is  necessary,  he  is  indeed  in  a  desperate 
case.  I  cannot  think  that  the  duty  of  an  honest  man  when  he  con- 
sents to  become  a  politician,  is  so  difficult  and  hopeless  as  you  seem 
to  consider  it.  He  will  often,  it  is  true,  be  wrong,  but  this  may 
enable  him  to  correct  his  errors.  He  will  often  have  to  submit  to 
disappointments,  but  they  may  make  him  better  and  wiser.  If  he 
pursues  his  course  conscientiously,  guarding  against  his  own  am- 
bition, and  exercising  patience  and  forbearance  towards  others,  he 
will  generally  succeed  better  than  the  most  artful  intriguer  ;  and  the 
worst  that  can  happen  is,  that  in  bad  and  distempered  times  he  may 
be  released  from  his  obligations.  [Meant  to  be  a  picture  of  Ran- 
dolph himself. — Editor.']  Nor  even  then  is  there  an  end  of  his  use- 
fulness ;  for,  besides  many  things  that  he  may  yet  do  for  the  common 
good,  the  public  disorder  may  pass  away,  and  when  the  people  are 


RETIREMENT.  25 

sobered  by  suffering,  they  will  remember  who  would  have  saved  them 
from  it ;  aud  his  consequence  and  ability  to  serve  them  will  be  incal- 
culably increased,  and  their  confidence  in  him  unbounded.  "  Egre- 
gia  virtus  paucorum."  I  have  forgotten  your  quotation  from  Sallust 
— you  can  supply  it.  It  struck  me  forcibly,  and  I  believe  it  admira- 
bly suited  to  these  times ;  and  that  if  this  "  egregia  virtus"  can  be 
found  among  even  a  few  of  our  politicians,  who  can  be  pressed  and 
kept  in  the  public  service,  we  may  be  safe. 

The  opposition  making  to  the  administration  may  succeed  (though 
I  do  not  think  it  can)  ;  but  if  it  did  I  should  hope  but  little  from  it ; 
and  that,  because  it  is  the  opposition  of  a  party.  If  it  is  the  honest- 
est  party,  it  would  be  beaten  again  immediately  ;  for  of  two  contend- 
ing factions,  the  worst  must  be,  generally,  successful.  This  is  just 
as  plain  to  me  as  that  of  two  gamesters ;  he  who  cheats  most  will 
commonly  win  the  game.  We  should  therefore,  I  think,  burn  the 
cards,  or  give  up  the  game  of  party,  and  then,  I  believe,  the  knaves  might 
be  made  the  losers.  "  Keep  up  party  and  party  spirit"  should  be 
(if  they  have  any  sense)  the  first  and  great  commandment  of  the 

administration  to  its  followers.     Let  P &  Co.  keep  up  a  constant 

volley  of  the  most  irritating  provocations  against  every  one  who  does 
not  belong  to  their  party,  and  the  weakest  friend  of  the  administra- 
tion will  fall  into  the  ranks  against  them,  and  follow  wherever  they 
are  ordered. 

Suppose  some  ruinous  and  abominable  measure,  such  as  a  French 
alliance,  is  proposed  by  the  government ;  will  the  scolding  of  the 
federalists  in  Congress  gain  any  of  the  well-meaning  but  mistaken 
and  prejudiced  friends  of  the  administration,  and  induce  them  to 
oppose  it?  Will  not  such  persons,  on  the  contrary,  be  driven  to  con- 
sider it  a  party  question,  and  the  clamor  and  opposition  of  these 
persons,  as  a  matter  of  course  ?  Will  men  listen  to  reasonings  against 
it,  judge  of  it  impartially,  and  see  its  enormity,  who  are  blinded  by 
party  spirit  %  But  let  such  men  as  Cheves  or  Lowndes,  men  who  are 
not  party  men,  or  who  will  leave  their  party  when  they  think  them 
wrong ;  let  them  try  if  conciliation,  and  a  plain  and  temperate 
exposure  of  the  measure  will  not  be  effectual ;  and  it  is  certainly  rea- 
sonable to  expect  it  would.  I  am.  besides,  inclined  to  think  that  the 
worst  men  of  a  party  will  be  uppermost  in  it ;  and  if  so,  there  would, 
perhaps,  be  no  great  gain  from  a  change.  If  every  man  would  set 
himself  to  work  to  abate,  as  far  as  possible,  this  party  spirit ;  if 
the  people  could  be  once  brought  to  require  from  every  candidate 
a  solemn  declaration,  that  he  would  act  constitutionally  according  to 
his  own  judgment,  upon  every  measure  proposed,  without  considering 
what  party  advocated  or  opposed  it  (and  I  cannot  think  that  such  a 
ground  would  be  unpopular),  its  effects  would  be,  at  least,  greatly 
diminished.     This  course  might  not,  it  is  possible,  succeed  in  ordi- 


VOL.    II. 


26  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

nary  times,  and  when  this  spirit  is  so  universally  diffused  and 
inflamed ;  but  we  are  approaching  to  extraordinary  times,  when  se- 
rious national  affliction  will  appease  this  spirit,  and  give  the  people 
leisure  and  temper  to  reflect.  Something  too  might  then  be  done 
towards  promoting  a  reformation  of  habits  and  morals,  without  which 
nothing  of  any  lasting  advantage  can  be  expected.  Could  such  an 
administration  as  this  preserve  its  power,  if  party  spirit  was  even  con- 
siderably lessened  1  And  is  this  too  much  to  expect  ?  If  so,  there 
is  nothing,  I  think,  to  be  done  but  to  submit  to  the  punishment  that 
Providence  will  bring  upon  us,  and  to  hope  that  that  will  cure  us. 
I  am,  you  will  think,  full  of  this  subject. 

Farewell.     Yours, 

F.  S.  Key. 

Randolph  to  Key. 

Roanoke,  October  17,  1813. 

Dear  Frank — Never  was  letter  more  welcome  than  that  which  I 
just  now  received  from  you,  and  which  I  must  thank  you  for  on  the 
day  set  apart  for  letter-writing  in  the  city  of  0.,  or  defer  it  for  ano- 
ther week.  Alas  !  so  far  from  taking  the  field  against  the  poor  par- 
tridges, I  can  hardly  hobble  about  my  own  cabin.  It  pleased  Grod 
on  Tuesday  last  to  deprive  me  of  the  use  of  my  limbs.  This  visita- 
tion was  attended  with  acute  pain,  reminding  me  most  forcibly  of  my 
situation  at  your  uncle's  nearly  six  years  ago. 

By  the  papers,  I  see  that  our  friend  Ridgely  has  not  succeeded  in 
his  election.  I  am  gratified,  however,  to  find  that  he  was  at  the  head 
of  the  ticket  on  which  his  name  stood.  Lloyd,  I  perceive,  has  car- 
ried his  point  in  Talbot.  I  have  a  great  mind  to  publish  your  letter. 
If  any  thing  could  do  good,  that,  I  am  certain,  would  open  the  eyes  of 
many,  as  many,  at  least,  as  would  read  it.  But  I  have  no  faith,  and 
cannot  be  saved.  I  look  to  the  sands  of  Brandenburgh  and  the 
mountains  of  Bohemia  with  a  faint  hope  of  deliverance.  You  can 
expect  nothing  but  groans  and  sighs  from  a  poor  devil,  racked  by 
rheumatism  and  tortured  by  a  thousand  plagues.  I  can  barely  sum- 
mon heart  enough  to  congratulate  you  and  Mrs.  K.  (to  whom  give  my 
best  love)  on  the  late  happy  event  in  your  family.  I  shall  be  proud 
if  my  gun  can  furnish  a  piece  of  game  for  her.  When  I  get  better 
you  shall  hear  from  me  at  full.  When  you  see  Ridgely  present  me 
most  affectionately  to  him  and  his  truly  excellent  wife.  I  cannot  be 
glad  of  his  defeat,  since  it  seems  that  the  complexion  of  your  legis- 
lature depended  upon  success  there  or  in  some  county  on  the  eastern 
shore  ;  but  I  am  convinced  that  it  is  best  for  him  and  his  ;  and  I  am 
inclined  to  think  no  worse  for  the  country.  How  can  a  foolish  spend- 
thrift young  man  be  prevented  from  ruining  himself?  How  can  you 
appoint  a  guardian  to  a  people  bent  on  self-destruction  ?     The  state 


RETIREMENT.  27 

of  society  is  radically  vicious.     It  is  there,  if  at  all,  that  the  remedy 
should  be  applied. 

I  will  give  you  an  instance.  One  of  my  overseers  had  acted  in 
the  most  scandalous  and  indeed  dishonest  manner.  Of  course  he  had 
to  decamp.  Two  gentlemen,  in  the  most  friendly  manner,  cautioned  me 
against  a  contest  at  law  with  an  overseer.  No  matter  what  the  merit3 
of  the  case,  the  employer  must  be  cast.  If  I  had  been  in  Turkey, 
and  this  fellow  a  Janizary,  they  could  not  have  thought  the  case 
more  desperate,  and  I  know  that  they,  were  right. 

We  agree  entirely  in  opinion  respecting  the  Review,  and  nearly 
so  on  the  subject  of  the  rival  journal.  I  wish  I  could  get  them 
more  regularly,  for  in  my  condition  any  thing  of  that  kind  is 
a  treasure.  Under  any  other  circumstances  I  should  be  ashamed  of 
returning  you  this  meagre  epistle,  in  reply  to  your  rich  and  copious 
letter. 

Yours  entirely, 

John  Randolph  of  Roanoke. 


Key  to  Randolyh. 

Georgetown,  November  27,  1813. 

My  dear  Friend — *  *  *  I  have  heard  indirectly  that  your  are 
still  sick.  I  hope  this  attack  will  not  be  such  an  one  as  you  had  at 
my  uncle's.  Pain  and  sickness  are  sad  companions  any  where,  but 
particularly  in  the  country.  It  is  hard  to  feel  them  and  think  them 
the  trifles  that  (compared  to  other  things)  they  certainly  are.  He 
alone  who  sends  them  can  give  us  strength  and  faith  to  bear  them 
as  we  ought.  I  wish  you  every  relief,  but  above  all,  this.  Let  me 
hear  from  you  as  often  as  you  can.  Your  letters  may  be  short,  but 
I  shall  not  find  them  "  meagre."  *  *  *  Maryland  is  in  great  agita- 
tion 'about  the  Alleghany  election.  The  returned  members  will 
take  their  seats,  and  when  they  have  elected  the  Governor  and  Coun- 
cil, then  their  right  to  their  seats  will  be  tried.  This  piece  of  jockeyship 
will  degrade  and  ruin  the  party  for  ever.  Perhaps  it  is  well  it  should 
be  so ;  the  more  each  party  disgraces  itself  the  better. 

I  agree  exactly  with  you,  that  "  the  state  of  society  is  radically 
vicious,"  and  that  it  is  there  that  the  remedy  is  to  be  applied.  Put 
down  party  spirit ;  stop  the  corruption  of  party  elections ;  legislate 
not  for  the  next  election,  but  for  the  next  century ;  build  Lancaster 
schools  in  every  hundred,  and  repair  our  ruined  churches ;  let  every 
country  gentleman  of  worth  become  a  justice  of  the  peace,  and  show 
his  neighbors  what  a  blessing  a  benevolent,  religious  man  is ;  and  let 
the  retired  patriot,  who  can  do  nothing  else,  give  his  country  his 
prayers,  and  often  in  his  meditations  "  think  on  her  who  thinks  not 


28  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

for  herself" — "  egregia  virtus  paucorum,"  &c.  I  often  think  of  your 
apt  quotation.  I  believe,  nay,  I  am  sure,  that  such  a  course,  if  hon- 
estly attempted,  would  succeed  and  save  us.     God  bless  you. 

Your  friend, 

F.  S.  Key. 

'Randolph  to  Key. 

Richmond,  Dec.  15,  1813. 

Dear.  Frank  : — I  thank  you  very  sincerely  for  your  kind  letter, 
which  has  been  forwarded  to  me  at  this  place  (where  I  have  been  up- 
wards of  a  month),  and  also  for  your  remembrance  of  my  request 
about  the  pamphlets,  which  I  received  yesterday.  I  wish,  if  any  op- 
portunity offers  (I  mean  a  good  one),  you  would  send  me  "  War  in 
Disguise  ;"  it  is  bound  up  with  the  "  Dangers  of  the  Country,"  and 
some  other  pamphlets  ;  and  I  pray  you  take  care  of  my  favorite  fowl- 
ing-piece.    My  fears  are  not  from  the  use  of  it,  but  from  rust. 

You  see  what  great  objects  fill  my  mind  when  the  dajr  "  is  big 
with  the  fate"  of  the  whole  race  of  man.  For  my  part,  my  fears  of 
the  power  and  arts  of  France,  almost  overpower  the  exercise  of  my 
judgment.  I  can  see  no  cause  why  the  world  should  not  be  punished 
now  as  in  the  days  of  Caesar  or  Nebuchadnezzar  ;  nor  why  Bonaparte 
may  not  be  as  good  an  instrument  as  either  of  those  tyrants.  En- 
deavoring to  turn  away  my  mind  from  such  contemplations,  I  try  to 
submit  myself  to  him  whose  chastisement  is  love. 

"  Put  down  party  spirit !"  Put  a  little  fresh  salt  on  the  sparrow's 
tail,  and  you  will  infallibly  catch  him.  You  will  put  down  party 
spirit  when  you  put  down  whisky-drinking,  and  that  will  be  when  the 
Greek  calends  come.  I  agree  with  you  perfectly  on  the  subject  of 
the  poor,  unoffending  Canadians.  To  us  they  are  innocent ;  and  in 
the  eye  of  Heaven  we  must  appear  like  so  many  descendants  of  Cain, 
seeking  to  imbrue  our  hands  in  our  brothers'  blood  !  Suppose  Eng- 
land to  lose  Canada,  she  gets  in  exchange  for  it  our  whole  navigation. 
We  were  her  great  and  only  commercial  rival.  We  possessed  a  ton- 
nage, six  years  ago,  greater  than  that  of  Great  Britain  at  the  acces- 
sion of  the  present  king.  Greater  than  any  other  nation,  except  our 
parent  state,  ever  owned.  Our  ships  are  short-lived,  our  seamen 
must  have  employment ;  all  the  foreign  seamen,  and  many  of  the  na- 
tive, will  seek  the  Russian,  or  some  other  neutral  service.  We  may 
establish  manufactures  ;  but  what  of  that  %  Those  of  England  want 
no  vent  here.  Moreover,  she  well  knows  that  although  peace  may  be 
restored,  it  will  be  a  peace  of  double  duties  and  restrictions,  a  "  war 
in  disguise."  In  short,  I  can  see  no  motive  in  a  wise  English  admin- 
istration for  putting  an  end  to  the  war.  My  only  trust  is  in  their 
folly.  Lord  Castlereagh  is  not  much  better  than  his  countryman, 
with  the  last  syllable  of  his  name,  whom  you  met  in  the  street. 


RETIREMENT.  29 

Peace  or  war,  the  ruin  of  this  country  is  inevitable  ;  ive  cannot 
have  manufactures  on  a  great  scale.  Already  our  specie  is  drawn  off 
to  pay  for  domestic  manufactures  from  the  middle  and  eastern  States. 
All  the  loans.  &c,  are  spent  in  New- York ;  and  whilst  she  and  Penn- 
sylvania and  New  England  are  thriving  in  the  most  wonderful  man- 
ner, with  us  the  straw  (near  market)  of  a  crop  of  wheat  is  worth 
more  than  the  grain ;  and  we  are  feeding  our  horses  and  oxen  with 
superfine  flour,  although  the  crop  of  Indian  corn  is  superabundant — 
the  flour  being  the  cheaper  of  the  two. 

I  heard  of  our  friend,  Sterrett  Ridgley,  by  a  gentleman  who  saw 
him  at  the  races.  I  cannot  regret  that  he  is  not  compelled  to  mingle 
in  the  throng  at  Annapolis.  Sallust,  in  that  quotation  of  mine  to 
which  you  so  frequently  refer,  speaking  of  the  exploits  of  the  Roman 
people  (surpassed  by  the  Greeks  in  eloquence  and  learning,  and  by 
the  Gauls  in  military  prowess),  declares  it  to  be  his  opinion,  after  long 
and  attentive  study  and  observations,  that  "  Egregiam  virtutem 
paucorum  civium  cuncta  patiavisse."  He  goes  on  to  add  (I  wish  I 
had  the  book  before  me),  u  Sed  post  quam  luxu  atque  desidio  civitas 
corrupta  est,  rursus  Respublica  magnitudine  sua,  vitia  sustentabat." 
In  like  manner,  we  have  seen  modern  France,  by  the  very  force  of 
magnitude  and  number,  support  the  unutterable  vices  of  her  rulers, 
and  bear  down  all  before  her.  As  we  cannot  be  saved  by  the 
extraordinary  virtue  of  a  few,  so  neither  can  we  rely  upon  the  height 
of  our  power  to  sustain  the  incapacity  and  corruption  of  our  rulers, 
and  of  the  great  mass  of  our  people. 

As  to  Lancaster  schools,  I  am  for  the  thing,  the  substance, 
but  not  the  name.  It  is  stolen  by  a  fellow  whom  I  detest.  I  hope 
you  have  abolished  his  cruel  and  stupid  punishments  in  your  George- 
town Institution.  An  article  in  the  Quarterly  Review  (I  think  No. 
XI).  satisfied  me  that  Lancaster  was  an  impostor,  and  a  hard-hearted 
wretch.  There  is  a  late  review  on  "  National  Education  "  (in  No. 
XV.  I  believe),  which  pleased  me  very  much  My  best  wishes  attend 
all  who  are  dear  to  you.  I  hear  that  your  poor  protegee,  Miss  A.  B., 
has  sealed  her  final  ruin. 

Adieu,  and  believe  me,  always,  most  cordially,  yours, 

John  Randolph  of  Roanoke. 
Tuesday,  Dec.  15,  1813.     Wednesday. 


P.  S.  Have  you  read  Lord  Byron's  Giaour?  I  have  been  delighted 
with  it.  He  is  a  poet,  as  was  emphatically  said  of  our  P.  Henry, 
"  He  is  an  orator  !"  I  have  also  been  much  pleased  with  Horace  in 
London,  and  the  Intercepted  Twopenny  Post. 


30  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 


Key  to  Randolph. 

Georgetown,  January  20,  1814. 

My  dear  Friend, —  *  *  *  I  have  no  news  that  I  think  would 
interest  you.  Cheves  is  said  to  have  been  made  Speaker,  against  the 
wishes  of  the  administration  party,  who  were  very  active  for  Grundy. 
I  cannot  help  thinking  his  election  a  favorable  circumstance. 

I  can  hear  nothing  of  the  book  you  mention  (English)  from  any 
one  but  Swift,  who  says  he  heard  it  spoken  of  in  New- York  as  an 
ingenious  performance.  I  would  read  it,  and  give  you  my  opinion 
of  it,  if  I  came  across  it,  provided  it  was  not  too  long.  I  don't  be- 
lieve there  are  any  new  objections  to  be  discovered  to  the  truth  of 
Christianity,  though  there  may  be  some  art  in  presenting  old  ones  in 
a  new  dress.  My  faith  has  been  greatly  confirmed  by  the  infidel 
writers  I  have  read  ;  and  I  think  such  would  be  the  effect  upon  any  one 
who  has  examined  the  evidences.  Our  Church  recommends  their  perusal 
to  students  of  divinity,  which  shows  she  is  not  afraid  of  them.  Men 
may  argue  ingeniously  against  our  faith — as  indeed  they  may  against 
any  thing — but  what  can  they  say  in  defence  of  their  own  ?  I  would 
carry  the  war  into  their  own  territories.  I  would  ask  them  what  they 
believed.  If  they  said  they  believed  any  thing,  I  think  that  thing 
might  be  shown  to  be  more  full  of  difficulties,  and  liable  to  infinitely 
greater  objections  than  the  system  they  opposed,  and  they  more 
credulous  and  unreasonable  for  believing  it.  If  they  said  they  be- 
lieved nothing,  you  could  not,  to  be  sure,  have  any  thing  further  to 
say  to  them.  In  that  case  they  would  be  insane,  or,  at  best,  illy 
qualified  to  teach  others  what  they  ought  to  believe  or  disbelieve. 

I  can  never  doubt  (for  we  have  the  word  of  God  for  it,  and  it  is  so 
plainly  a  consequence  of  his  goodness)  that  all  who  inquire,  with  that 
sincerity  and  earnestness  which  so  awful  a  subject  requires,  will  find 
the  truth — "  Seek,  and  ye  shall  find."  Did  you  ever  read  "  Grotius 
de  Veritate  ?"  I  should  like  to  see  an  infidel  attempt  an  answer  to 
that  book.     *     *     *. 


Randolph  to  Key. 

Richmond,  February  17,  1814. 
Dear.  Frank  : — You  plead  want  of  time,  and  I  may,  with  equal 
truth  declare,  that  I  have  nothing  worth  twelve  and  half  cents — 
which,  I  believe,  is  the  postage  from  here  to  the  city  of  0.  Indeed 
I  have  been  living  myself  in  "  a  world  without  souls,"  until  my  heart 
is  "  as  dry  as  a  chip,"  and  as  cold  as  a  dog's  nose."  Do  not  suppose, 
however,  that  the  Jew  book  has  made  any  impression  upon  me ;  as  I 
cannot  see  how  the  human  mind,  unassisted  by  the  light  of  Christi- 


RETIREMENT.  g\ 

anity,  can  stop  half-way  at  deism,  instead  of  travelling  the  whole 
length  to  which  fair  deduction  would  lead  it,  to  frozen,  cheerless  athe- 
ism ;  so  it  appears  to  me  most  wonderful,  that  any  man,  believing  in 
the  Old  Testament,  can  reject  the  New ;  and  it  is  perhaps  not  the 
least  conclusive  of  the  proofs  of  the  authenticity  of  the  latter,  that 
the  Jews,  admitting  as  it  were  the  premises,  should  blindly  reject  the 
inevitable  conclusion. 

Have  you  read  the  work  of  Paley,  reviewed  in  a  late  Edinburgh  ? 
"  The  Lord  deliver  me  from  Archdeacon  Paley  !"  I  am  persuaded 
that,  with  the  best  intentions,  this  man  has  done  infinite — rather 
great  mischief  to  the  cause  he  espouses.  You  are  rich  in  hav- 
ing Swift  and  Meade  with  you.  I  am  glad  that  the  Colonel 
(what  is  his  Christian   name?)   has  escaped  the  recoil  of  our  own 

measures.      Bid   him   and  W accept   my  best   wishes.       Poor 

W !   what  a  situation  his  imprudence  has  reduced  him  to !     I 

have  thought  a  hundred  times  of  the  meeting  and  parting,  when  he 
returns  to  his  prison-house,  between  him  and  his  family ;  and  I  bless 
God  that  I  have  been  the  probable  means  of  saving  Charles  and  Mrs. 
Ptidgely  from  a  like  pang.  Why  do  you  say  nothing  of  Charles 
Sterrett  Ridgely?  It  is  the  more  necessary,  since  he  has  given  up 
writing  to  me.  My  warmest  wishes  attend  him  and  all  at  Oakland  ! 
Remember  me,  also,  to  Blenheim  and  the  Woodyard. 

We  are  all  in  a  bustle  here  with  the  news  from  Europe.  For  my 
part,  I  hope  that  Blunderbuss  Castlereagh  may  succeed  in  prevent- 
ing a  peace  "  which  shall  confirm  to  the  French  Empire  an  extent  of 
territory  France  under  her  kings  never  knew  "  If  they  permit  him 
to  retain  the  low  countries  and  Piedmont,  they  will  act  like  the 
sapient  commissioner  appointed  to  examine  the  vaults  of  the  Par- 
liament House,  on  the  alarm  of  the  gunpowder-plot,  who  reported, 
"  that  he  had  discovered  seventy-five  barrels  of  gunpowder  concealed 
under  faggots ;  that  he  had  caused  fifty  to  be  removed,  and  hoped  tlte 
otlier  twenty -five  would  do  no  harm" 

I  see  the  Federal  Republican,  on  the  authority  of  the  Evening 
Post,  has  accused  me  of  being  ;'  an  obvious  imitator  of"  Lord  Chatham." 
Let  them  bepraise  their  favorites  as  much  as  they  please,  and  at  my 
expense,  too,  provided  they  do  not  class  me  with  the  servile  herd  of 
imitators  whom  I  despise  and  shun.  No  man  is  more  sensible  than 
I  am  of  the  distance  between  myself  and  Lord  Chatham  ;  but  I  would 
scorn  to  imitate  even  him.  My  powers,  such  as  they  are,  have  not 
been  improved  by  culture.  The  first  time  that  I  ever  dreamed  of 
speaking  in  public,  was  on  the  eve  of  my  election  in  March,  1799, 
when  I  opposed  myself  (fearful  odds  !)  to  Patrick  Henry.  My  man- 
ner is  spontaneous,  flowing,  like  my  matter,  from  the  impulse  of  the 
moment ;  and  when  I  do  not  feel  strongly,  I  cannot  speak  to  any 
purpose.      These  fits  are   independent  of  my  volition.       The  best 


32  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

speech  that  I  ever  made,  was  about  the  third  or  fourth,  on  the  subject 
of  the  Connecticut  Reserve,  1800.  During  the  last  four  or  five  years, 
I  have  perceived  a  sensible  decline  in  niy  powers — which  I  estimate 
with  as  much  impartiality  as  you  would ;  in  a  word,  as  if  they  had 
belonged  to  another.  I  am  not  better  persuaded  of  the  loss  of  my 
grinders,  or  of  the  wrinkles  in  my  face — and  care  as  much  for  the  one 
as  the  other.  Any  other  man  but  yourself  (or  perhaps  Meade)  would 
take  this  long  paragraph  as  proof  that  I  am  insincere,  or  self-deceived. 
To  tell  you  the  truth,  I  am  sensible  of  the  gross  injustice  that  has 
been  done  me  in  the  paragraph  in  question.  I  had  as  lief  be  accused 
of  any  crime,  not  forbidden  by  the  decalogue,  as  of  imitation.  If 
these  critics  choose  to  say  that  I  have  neglected,  or  thrown  away,  or 
buried  my  talent,  I  will  acquiesce  in  the  censure ;  but  amongst  the 
herd  of  imitators  I  will  not  be  ranked,  because  I  feel  that  I  could 
not  descend  to  imitate  any  human  being.  But  I  have  long  ago 
learned — 

Malignum  spurnere  vulgus. 

Best  wishes  to  Mrs.  Key  and  the  little  ones.  If  Meade  be  with 
you,  I  salute  him. 

Yours,  truly, 

John  Randolph  of  Roanoke. 
Francis  Scott  Key,  Esq. 

I  have  been  delighted  with  the  Posthumus  Works  of  Burke — 
the  father  of  political  wisdom — and  have  revelled  in  literary  sweets : 
Horace  in  London  ;  Rejected  Adresses ;  Twopenny-post  Bag ;  The 
Giaour,  and  the  critique  upon  it  in  the  Edinburgh  Review.  Many 
articles  in  that  journal,  and  in  the  Quarterly,  have  amused  and  in- 
structed me.  I  know  you  do  not  like  the  Scotch  fraternity  of  critics  ; 
neither  do  I ;  but  fas  est  ab  hoste  docere.  What  a  picture  of  French 
society  does  the  review  of  Grimm  unfold  !  There  are  some  deep  re- 
flections in  that  article,  which  I  suppose  comes  from  the  pen  of  Du- 
gald  Stewart.     It  is  eminently  favorable  to  the  cause  of  morality. 

Our  great  folks  at  Cr.  treat  us  little  folks  in  Virginia  very  much 
as  great  folks  are  wont  to  treat  little  ones,  viz.,  with  sovereign 
neglect. 

Randolph  to  Key. 

Richmond,  March  2,  1814. 

Dear  Sir, — Your  letter  found  me  in  bed,  harassed  and  afflicted 
with  gouty  affection  of  the  alimentary  canal.  It  was,  I  believe,  the 
best  medicine  that  could  have  been  administered  to  me,  but,  aided  by 
an  anniversary  discourse,  which  Joe  Lewis  was  considerate  enough 
to  send  me,  and  which  came  also  in  the  nick  of  time,  the  effect  was 
wonderful.     I  am  half  disposed  to  be  angry  with  you  for  passing 


RETIREMENT. 


33 


over  the  said  discourse  as  if  it  never  had  existed,  and  especially  for 
leaving  me  to  the  charity  of  Joe  Lewis,  but  for  whose  contribution  I 
might  have  been  deprived  of  the  pleasure  of  seeing  it  at  all ;  for  you 
need  not  flatter  yourself  that  the  newspapers  generally  will  republish 
it,  Now,  by  way  of  penance  for  this  misplaced  modesty,  I  do  enjoin 
upon  you  to  thank  the  aforesaid  Joe  in  my  name  for  his  most  oblig- 
ing attention  ;  one  that  has  given  me  a  pleasure  that  I  shall  not  of- 
fend you  in  attempting  to  express. 

You  are  right,  my  friend,  but  who  will  follow  you  ?  Who  will 
abandon  the  expedient  to  adopt  the  counsels  of  self-denial,  of  mortifi- 
cation, of  duty?  For  my  part,  much  as  I  abhor  the  factious  motive 
and  manner  of  the  opposition  prints,  and  many  of  its  leaders,  if  I 
could  find  as  many  men  of  my  way  of  thinking  as  drubbed  the 
French  at  Agincourt,  I  would  throw  off  the  yoke,  or  perish  in  the 
attempt. 

Louisiana  is  not  my  country.  I  respect  as  much  the  opinions  of 
the  people  of  London  as  of  the  Western  States.  After  these  avowals 
you  will  not  '•  be  glad"  I  fear  "  to  see  my  nil  acbnirariP  My  father 
left,  for  some  reason  of  his  own,  this  old  family  adage,  and  adopted 
fori  qus,  gentiat  for  his  motto.  But  although  I  have  returned  to 
the  old  family  maxim,  I  cannot  shake  off  the  habit  which  I  acquired 
during  thirty  years'  practice  of  speaking  my  mind  sometimes.  Nev- 
ertheless, I  am  persuaded  that  if  we  could  all  read  your  discourse, 
it  would  produce  a  most  happy  and  beneficial  effect  on  all  ranks  of 
the  people.  But  the  people  will  not  hear,  cannot  read,  and  if  they 
could,  cannot  understand,  until  the  paroxysm  of  drunkenness  is  over. 
Wanting  your  faith  I  cannot  repress  my  forebodings.  They  weigh 
me  down  and  immerse  body  and  soul.  I  never  stood  more  in  need 
of  your  society.  In  this  world  without  souls  every  body  is  taken  up 
with  "  the  one  thing  needful" — what  that  is  you  must  not  consult  St. 
Paul  but  the  Jewish  doctors,  to  discover. 

I  was  struck  with  the  review  of  Grimm,  and  with  the  hypothesis 
of  the  reviewer,  on  the  tendency  of  a  certain  state  of  society  to 
deaden  the  feelings,  ossify  the  heart,  and  sharpen  the  sense  of  ridi- 
cule. Yes.  in  spite  of  its  being  French  verse,  I  was  pleased  with  the 
tribute  of  Voltaire  to  the  power  of  that  God,  whom  he  never  knew. 
I  have  been  looking  over  the  four  first  numbers  of  the  Edinburgh 
Beview,  and  was  struck  with  the  change  of  principle. 

In  answer  to  the  foregoing  letter  Mr.  Key  writes  : 

':  I  have  not  yet  seen  the  Giaour,  but  have  looked  over  the  Bride 
of  Abydos.  It  has  some  fine  passages  in  it,  but  it  is  too  full  of 
those  crooked-named  out-of-the-way  East  Indian  things.  I  have 
long  ago,  however,  resolved  that  there  shall  be  no  such  poet  as  Wal- 

vol.  n.  2* 


34  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

ter  Scott  as  long  as  he  lives,  and  I  can  admire  nobody  that  pretends 
to  rival  him. 

'•  I  should  like  to  have  the  first  numbers  of  the  Edinburgh  Review. 
I  remember  very  well  the  great  and  shameful  change  of  principle  it 
has  undergone.  It  is  to  be  regretted  that  it  is  so  popular  a  work  in 
this  country.  How  came  the  re-publishers  by  their  recommendations  of 
it  1  I  see  you  are  among  them — with  some  good  company,  and  some 
rather  bad.  Is  it  not  desirable  that  there  should  be  a  good  Ameri- 
can Literary  Review  ?  One  inculcating  the  sound  principles  of  the 
quarterly  reviewers,  and  exposing  our  book-makers,  would  perhaps 
improve  both  our  taste  and  habits.  Have  you  seen  an  article  in 
Bronson's  select  reviews  on  American  song-writing  1  I  do  not  know 
who  the  author  is,  but  I  think  he  could  conduct  such  a  work  with 
much  spirit.     I  have  seldom,  I  think,  seen  a  better  piece  of  criti- 


cism." 


In  reply,  Randolph  says  : 

"  I  do  think  a  review  on  the  plan  you  mention  would  be  highly 
beneficial,  and  if  I  was  fit  for  any  thing  I  should  like  to  engage  in  a 
work  of  the  sort.  But  fourteen  years  of  congressional  life  have 
rendered  me  good  for  nothing.  It  may  be  an  excuse  for  idleness, 
for  this  devil  attacks  me  in  every  shape.  But  it  seems  to  me,  to 
work  any  material  change  in  the  state  of  things,  we  must  begin  (as 
some  logicians  lay  their  premises)  a  great  way  off.  I  mean  with 
the  children ;  the  old  folks  have  taken  their  ^/y,  and  will  neither 
bend  nor  break. 

"  '  How  came  the  Edinburgh  Review  by  my  recommendation  V 
Because  the  re-publishers  applied  for  it  by  letter  ;  and  when  I  gave 
it  I  had  not  gotten  sight  of  the  cloven  foot ;  I  had  seen,  however,  some 
puerile  abuse  of  myself  in  that  journal ;  but  this  and  much  more 
would  have  been  amply  atoned  for  by  very  many  masterly  articles, 
if  they  had  not  betrayed  a  want  of  reverence  for  religion,  and  a 
hankering  after  France.  Nevertheless,  some  of  the  late  numbers  in 
a  great  measure  redeem  their  former  sins.  The  truth  is  that  men  of 
diffrent  principles,  political  as  well  as  religious,  write  for  that  journal, 
and  it  may  be  always  quoted  against  itself.  There  are  some  noble 
specimens  of  the  art  of  criticism  in  the  two  last  numbers  that  I 
have  seen. 

"  I  cannot  yield  the  precedence  of  Lord  Byron  to  Walter  Scott.  I 
admit  your  objection  to  the  '  crooked-named  out-of-the-way  Turkish 
things.'  But  this  must  be  pardoned  in  a  traveller,  who  has  explored 
the  woods  that  wave  o'er  Delphi's  steep,  and  swam  across  the  Helles- 
pont. No  poet  in  our  language  (the  exception  is  unnecessary), 
Shakspeare  and  Milton  apart,  has  the  same  power  over  my  feelings 
as  Byron.     He  is,  like  Scott,  careless,  and  indulges  himself  in  great 


RETIREMENT.  35 

license ;  but  he  does  not,  like  your  favorite,  write  by  the  piece.  I 
am  persuaded  that  his  fragments  are  thrown  out  by  the  true  spirit 
of  inspiration,  and  that  he  never  goads  his  pen  to  work.  When  you 
have  read  the  Giaour,  the  first,  I  think,  of  his  poems.  I  am  persua- 
ded that  you  will  change  your  opinion  of  this  singular  author,  and 
yet  more  singular  man.  His  feelings  are  too  strong  to  endure  the 
privation  of  religious  sentimeut.  His  time  is  not  yet  come,  but  he 
cannot  continue  to  exist  in  the  chill  and  gloom  of  skepticism. 

'•  Meade  is  daily  expected  here.  There  is  a  general  wish  that  ho 
should  preach  the  first  sermon  in  the  Monumental  Church. 

'•  What  an  occasion  for  a  man  who  would  not  sink  under  it !  He 
might  do  a  great  deal  of  good  were  he  to  yield  to  the  desire  of  the 
congregation,  and  establish  himself  amongst  them ;  but  where  is  the 
field  in  which  he  would  not  do  good  ? 

"  I  have  not  seen  the  article  you  mention  in  Bronson's  Select  Re- 
view. In  its  new  form  I  think  that  a  respectable  and  useful  publi- 
cation. To  be  sure,  it  is  made  of  scissors ;  but  it  is  so  far  beyond 
the  Port-Folio  as  to  be  comparatively  good.  The  last  is  the  most  con- 
temptible thing  that  ever  imposed  on  the  public  in  the  shape  of  a 
magazine — and   that    is   going   very    far.      When   your   letter   and 

W 's  P.  S.  arrived,  I  was  in  all  the  horrors  of  what  is  vulgarly 

called  Blue  Devils ;  nor  am  I  yet  wholly  recovered.  I  could  not, 
however,  resist  the  inclination  to  make  my  acknowledgments  for  your 
kindness." 

Randolph  to  Key. 

Richmond,  May  7th,  1814. 

My  Dear  Friend — Mr.  Meade  tells  me  that  he  expects  to  see 
you  in  a  few  days.  I  cannot  let  him  depart  without  some  token  of 
my  remembrance.  He  goes  away  early  on  Monday  morning,  so  that, 
to  guard  against  failure,  I  write  to-day.  He  has  made  an  engage- 
ment to  preach  in  Hanover,  thirty-five  miles  off,  on  Monday  evening. 
No  man  can  respect  or  admire  his  zeal  in  the  sacred  cause  to  which 
he  has  devoted  himself,  more  than  I  do — but  I  fear  he  will  wear 
himself  out,  and  that  the  sum  of  his  usefulness  will,  on  the  whole,  be 
diminished,  unless  he  will  consent  to  spare  himself.  His  health  and 
strength  are  evidently  impaired  since  I  saw  him  last.  I  fear  for  his 
breast.  I  must  refer  you  to  him  for  what  occurs  here,  except  the 
eagerness  of  all  classes  and  ranks  of  people  to  hear  him.  No  man 
can  be  more  generally  revered  than  he  is. 

As  to  the  review,  I  am  out  of  the  question  on  that  and  every 
other  subject  requiring  any  species  of  exertion.  I  said  truly  when 
I  told  you  that  congressional  life  had  destroyed  me—fruges  con- 
sumere — this  is  all  that  I  am  fit  for ;  and  such  is  my  infirmity  of 


36  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

body  that  I  make  a  very  poor  hand  even  at  that — notwithstanding  I 
am  one  of  those  who  (as  the  French  say)  sum  ne  pour  la  digestion. 

Since  the  hot  weather  set  in,  I  have  been  in  a  state  of  collapse, 
and  am  as  feeble  as  an  infant— with  all  this  I  am  tortured  with 
rheumatism,  or  gout,  a  wretched  cripple,  and  my  mind  is  yet_  more 
weak  and  diseased  than  my  body.  I  hardly  know  myself,  so  irreso- 
lute and  timid  have  I  become.  In  short,  I  hope  that  there  is  not  an- 
other creature  in  the  world  as  unhappy  as  myself.  This  I  can  say  to 
you.  To  the  world  I  endeavor  to  put  on  a  different  countenance,  and 
hold  a  bolder  language  ;  but  it  is  sheer  hypocrisy,  assumed  to  guard 
against  the  pity  of  mankind. 

Mr.  Meade  will  preach  to-morrow  in  the  new  church.  He  is 
anxious  on  account  of  a  silly  piece,  which  that  prince  of  coxcombs 
has  stuck  into  his  paper.  He  has  had  no  time  for  prepara- 
tion on  so  useful  a  subject,  and  is  uneasy  that  the  public  expectation 
has  been  led  to  it.  Indeed  who  could  treat  it  as  it  deserves  1  cer- 
tainly no  man  whom  I  ever  heard.  Remember  me  kindly  to  Mrs. 
Key  and  all  friends,  amongst  whom  I  must  particularly  mention 
West  and  Sterrett  Ridgely. 

Most  sincerely  yours, 

John  Randolph  of  Roanoke. 

I  left  the  letter  open  that  I  might  say  a  word  about  my  friend's 
discourse.  He  explained  in  a  few  satisfactory  and  appropriate  words 
why  he  should  not  touch  upon  a  subject  which  many  of  his  hearers 
had  been  led  to  expect  he  would  treat  (the  burning  of  the  theatre  on 
whose  site  the  new  church  was  erected),  and  then  gave  us  a  most  ex- 
cellent sermon  on  the  pleasure  of  the  true  Christian's  life.  A  prayer 
which  he  introduced  into  this  discourse,  that  the  heart,  even  if  it  were 
but  one,  of  the  unconverted  might  be  touched,  was  most  affecting. 

He  preaches  this  afternoon  at  the  Capitol,  on  the  subject  of  the 
Bible  Societies. 

Sunday,  2  o'clock,  P.  M. 


CHAPTER    II. 

ANCESTRAL   PEIDE — ST.   GEORGE — MADNESS. 

John  Randolph  had  a  morbid  sensibility  on  the  subject  of  his  family 
and  his  property.  He  belonged  to  one  of  the  oldest,  most  numerous, 
and  wealthy  families  in  Virginia — he  cherished  his  family  pride,  and 


ANCESTRAL  PRIDE.  37 

valued  hereditary  fortune  far  beyond  its  pecuniary  worth.  A  money- 
loving,  or  a  money-making  spirit  constituted  no  part  of  his  character. 
His  feelings  and  opinions  on  these  subjects  were  purely  English  ;  the 
proud,  yet  munificent  and  accomplished  Baron  of  some  time-honored 
castle  with  its  thousand  acres,  and  its  villages  of  grateful  and  happy 
tenants,  handed  down  from  sire  to  son.  with  all  the  associations  of 
pride  and  affection  clustering  around  its  walls  and  its  forests,  consti- 
tuted his  beau  ideal  (not  without  reason)  of  the  perfect  gentleman. 
Such,  in  no  small  degree,  were  the  characters  that  composed  the  old 
Virginia  aristocracy.  Randolph  loved  their  memory — formed  him- 
self on  their  model — despised  the  law  that  sapped  the  foundation  of 
their  greatness — and  still  hoped  to  preserve,  in  his  own  name  and 
family,  some  specimen  that  might  be  worthy  of  a  comparison  with 
those  noble  men  of  the  olden  time. 

He  cherished  the  memory  of  his  father  with  an  increasing  fond- 
ness to  the  day  of  his  death.  He  always  kept  his  father's  miniature 
hung  up  before  him  in  his  chamber,  or  about  his  person,  when  long 
abroad  from  home.  Last  November,  when  on  his  way  to  Richmond, 
where  he  expected  to  be  detained  a  few  weeks  only,  he  wrote  back  to 
Dudley,  "  be  so  good  as  to  send  me  my  father's  picture  and  three 
lockets — they  are  in  my  writing-table  drawer."  He  was  now  the  only 
son,  St.  George  and  Tudor  the  sons  of  Richard,  the  only  other  de- 
scendants of  that  father  whose  memory  he  dwelt  on  so  fondly.  His 
had  been  an  "  unprosperous  life,"  and  was  now,  as  he  thought,  rapidly 
drawing  to  a  close.  St.  George  was  deaf  and  dumb — "  the  most 
pitiable  of  the  step-sons  of  nature."  Tudor  was  all  that  was  left,  the 
pride  and  hope  of  the  family.  These  subjects  caused  him  unceasing 
anxiety.  The  intensity  of  his  feelings  cannot  be  understood,  nor 
justly  appreciated  by  the  novi  homines  of  modern  times.  They 
amounted  almost  to  a  monomania — they  furnish  a  solution  of  many 
of  the  apparent  inconsistencies  of  his  after  life,  and  was  the  imme- 
diate cause  of  a  rupture  between  himself  and  his  step-father,  whom, 
up  to  a  very  recent  period,  he  had  loved  and  venerated  with  the  affec- 
tion and  pride  of  a  son.  The  efforts  of  mutual  friends  to  heal  this 
unfortunate  breach  between  father  and  son,  was  the  principal  cause 
of  his  long  delay  in  Richmond  during  the  past  winter  and  spring. 
"Writing  to  Dudley  in  January,  he  says,  "  I  have  been  detained  here 
by  a  very  unpleasant  piece  of  business" — and  again  in  February,  "  I 


38 


LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 


have  been,  indeed,  very  much  disturbed  of  late,  by  an  occurrence  as 
unexpected  as  it  is  distressing ;  and,  perhaps,  I  tinge  other  objects 
with  the  hue  of  the  medium  through  which  I  observe  them." 

The  first  cause  of  this  misunderstanding  with  his  step-father  is 
very  characteristic  of  the  man,  and  illustrates  the  feeling  of  family 
pride  that  burned  so  intensely  in  his  breast.     The  subject  of  con- 
versation was  the  passing  of  the  Banister  estate  from  an  infant  of 
that  family,  to  a  brother  of  the  half  blood  of  the  Shippen  family. 
Mr.    Randolph    said   that    occurrence   gave   rise   to    the    alteration 
of  the  law  of  descents,  and  placed  it  on  its  present  footing :  he  also 
expressed   in   strong   terms    his    disapprobation    of   the   justice   or 
policy  of  such  a  law.     Judge  Tucker  replied:    "Why,  Jack,  you 
ought  not  to  be  against  that  law,  for  you  know  if  you  were  to  die 
without  issue,  you  would  wish  your  half  brothers  to  have  your  estate." 
"  I'll  be  damned,  sir,  if  I  do  know  it,"  said  Randolph,  in  great  excite- 
uieut ;  and  from  that  day  ceased  with  his  good  and  venerable  step- 
father all  friendly  intercourse.     This  occasion  gave  rise  to   many 
cruel  and  unjust  suspicions.     Once  brought  to  suspect  a  selfish  mo- 
tive in  him  he  had  so  much  venerated,  he  began  to  look  back  with  a 
jealous  eye  on  all  his  past  transactions,  and  "  trifles  light  as  air" 
became  "  confirmations  strong  as  holy  writ." 

In  1810-1 1  he  called  in  an  attorney  and  proposed  instituting  suit. 
He  stated  that  Judge  Tucker  had  never,  in  fact,  settled  his  accounts 
as  his  guardian — that  he  had  taken  the  accounts  stated  upon  trust — 
that  Judge  Tucker  had  contrived,  fraudulently  he  thought,  to  appro- 
priate to  himself  certain  slaves,  which  had  been  given  to  his  mother 
by  her  father,  Colonel  Bland,  upon  her  marriage  with  his  father, 
John  Randolph  the  elder,  which  his  father  had  held  thenceforth  till 
the  day  of  his  death,  and  which  were  mentioned  as  a  part  of  his 
estate.  He  stated  all  the  circumstances  of  the  case ;  and  admitted 
that  the  question  of  his  father's  right  to  the  slaves  depended  on  the 
construction  and  effect  of  the  statute  of  Virginia  of  1758,  making 
parole  gifts  of  slaves  void.  He  stated  the  facts  and  the  law  on  which 
he  rested  his  claim  to  the  slaves  with  as  much  precision  as  coun- 
sel could  have  stated  them  in  a  bill  in  Chancery ;  he  was  perfectly 
acquainted  with  the  statute  on  the  subject,  and  the  decisions  of  the 
Court  of  Appeals  upon  it.  His  counsel  dissuaded  him  from  his  pur- 
pose of  bringing  suit ;  but  he  often  afterwards  recurred  to  the  subject, 


ANCESTRAL  PRIDE.  39 

and  never  seems  to  have  been  wholly  reconciled.  The  old  man,  how- 
ever, was  unconscious  of  having  given  him  any  cause  of  offence.  He 
sent  a  mutual  friend  to  see  Mr.  Randolph  soon  after  his  arrival  in 
Richmond  :  "  Do  me  the  favor,"  says  he,  "  to  go  and  see  Mr.  Ran- 
dolph, and  ask  him  if  he  ever  received  a  letter  from  me  on  the  sub- 
ject of  the  misunderstanding  between  himself  and  his  brother  Bev- 
erly, and  whether  he  ever  answered  it?  Then  ask  him  what  has 
alienated  him  from  one,  whom  for  more  than  thirty  years  he  has 
known  as  a  father  ?" 

Randolph  replied  to  the  messenger,  after  a  frown,  that  he  had 
received  the  letter  alluded  to,  and  had  not  answered  it ;  and  after  a 
long  pause  said  he  had  imposed  it  as  a  law  on  himself  on  this  subject, 
not  to  converse  about  it. 

The  cause  of  this  alienation  of  mind  we  have  seen.  His  morbid 
sensibility  on  these  subjects  was  now  in  a  new  and  unexpected  form 
to  be  sorely  tried  ;  his  family  pride  to  be  deeply  mortified,  and  his 
fond  hopes  of  its  future  continuance  and  of  its  future  distinction  to 
be  blasted  forever. 

He  thus  writes  to  Mr.  Key  : 

Roanoke,  June  3. 1814. 

Dear  Frank — My  departure  from  Richmond  was  as  sudden  as 
the  occasion  was  mournful  and  distressing.  My  eldest  nephew, 
St.  George,  in  consequence  of  an  unsuccessful  attachment  to  Miss 

,  the  daughter  of  a  worthy  neighbor  of  his  mother,  had  become 

unsettled  in  his  intellects,  and  on  my  arrival  at  Farmville  I  found  him 
a  frantic  maniac.  I  have  brought '  him  up  here,  and  Dr.  Dudley,  a 
friend  and  treasure  to  me  above  all  price,  assists  me  in  the  manage- 
ment of  him.     We  have  no  hopes  of  his  restoration. 

I  would  congratulate  you  on  the  late  most  important  occurrences 
in  Europe  ;  but  I  cannot  write.  Let  me  hear  from  you,  I  pray. 
Commend  me  to  Mrs.  Key,  and  "West,  and  Ridgely,  and  all  who  care 
to  inquire  after  me. 

Yours  ever, 

John  Randolph  of  Roanoke. 

Randolph  to  Key. 

Roanoke,  July  14,  1814. 
Dear  Frank — I  have  but  half  a  sheet  of  paper  left,  and  it  is  too 
late  to  send  to  the  Court  House  (thirteen  miles)  for  more.    But  with 
this  half  sheet  and  half  a  drop  of  ink  diluted  to  a  penful,  I  hope  to 
make  out  something  like  a  letter. 


40  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

It  is  not  the  young  man  you  saw  in  Georgetown,  just  before  the 
declaration  of  war,  whose  unhappy  condition  I  described ;  ke  is  yet 
at  Cambridge :  the  patient  is  his  elder  brother,  just  entering  his 
twenty-third  year,  and  has  been  deaf  and  dumb  from  his  cradle. 

This  is  the  principal  cause  of  his  present  situation :  He  has  made 
several  attempts  to  marry,  and  brooding  over  the  cause  of  his  failure 
has  reduced  him  to  his  present  state.  He  has  become  manageable 
with  little  trouble.  His  memory  for  words,  persons,  and  events  is 
unimpaired,  but  he  cannot  combine.  He  has  dwelt  a  great  deal  on 
the  terrors  of  future  punishment  also,  and  often  mentioned  the  devil, 
but  that  was  subsequent  to  his  total  derangement.  His  mind  runs  on 
it  only  as  on  other  subjects  of  primary  interest. 

I  saw  some  account  of  your  campaigns  in  the  newspapers.  "Wads- 
worth's  letter  is  a  curiosity — an  honest  account  from  a  military  com- 
mander. Your  labors,  my  good  friend,  are  drawing  to  a  close.  Rely 
upon  it,  we  have  peace  forthwith.  The  points  in  "  contestation,"  our 
rulers  say,  are  removed  by  the  peace  in  Europe,  and  will  not  be 
:'  touched"  (another  favorite  phrase)  in  the  treaty  of  peace.  They 
might  as  well  say  they  were  removed  by  our  declaration  of  war,  if 
they  were  neutral  rights,  for  that  they  contended  for.  Poor  devils, 
what  a  figure  they  do  cut !  Yet  they  will  look  as  consequential  as 
ever,  and  even  carry  the  people  with  them. 

Have  you  read  the  Corsair  ?  or  have  you  lost  all  relish  for  such  pro- 
ductions ?  I  think  his  lordship  is  falling  into  the  errors  ascribed  by 
him  to  Walter  Scott.  There  is,  however,  some  exquisite  poetry.  I  have 
been  trying  to  forget  my  wretched  situation  in  the  perusal  of  Burke. 
I  have  read  his  matchless  diatribe  on  the  attack  of  D.  of  B.  and 
L.  of  L. — his  letters  on  the  regicide  peace,  and  indeed  the  whole 
of  the  fifth  volume,  New- York  edition.  How  much  it  is  to  be  re- 
gretted that  he  did  not  live  to  publish  his  abridgment  of  English 
History.  I  have  also  run  over  the  Reflections,  and  the  Appeal  from 
the  New  to  the  Old  Whigs.  0  that  he  could  have  seen  this  day  ! 
You  say  nothing  of  Bonaparte.  How  I  long  for  half  an  hour's  chat  with 
you  on  the  subject  of  these  late  surprising  and  providential  events. 

Present  me  affectionately  to  Mrs.  Key  and  your  little  one,  and 
remember  me  kindly  to  West  and  Ridgely,  when  you  see  them.  If  Lord 
Byron's  Ode  to  Bonaparte  is  in  Georgetown,  pray  send  me  a  copy 
by  post.  Dudley  returns  your  greeting.  He  is  to  me  a  treasure 
above  all  price.  Exclusive  of  his  excellent  temper,  alacrity,  and  in- 
telligence, he  is  a  most  skilful  physician.  I  should  sink  without  his 
support.  I  thank  God  that  he  has  raised  up  to  me  such  an  help. 
Adieu,  my  dear  sir.     I  am  in  truth,  yours, 

John  Randolph  op  Roanoke. 

I  came  down   here  yesterday  with  my  poor  nephew,  who  seems 
incurably  alienated  from  his  mother.     I  shall  return  in  a  few  days. 


ANCESTRAL  PRIDE.  41 


Randolph  to  Brockcnbrough. 

Roanoke,  July  15,  1814. 

I  had  begun  to  fear  that  my  long  visitation  of  last  winter  and 
spring,  had  put  you  so  much  out  of  the  habit  of  writing  to  me.  that 
you  would  never  resume  it.  But  your  letter  of  the  6th  (just  re- 
ceived) encourages  me  to  hope  that  I  shall  hear  from  you  as  formerly. 
It  was  a  sensible  relief  to  me.  But  I  will  say  nothing  about  my 
situation. 

Poor  St.  George  continues  quite  irrational.  He  is  however  very 
little  mischievous,  and  governed  pretty  easily.  His  memory  of  per- 
sons, things,  words,  and  events,  is  not  at  all  impaired  ;  but  he  has  no 
power  of  combination,  and  is  entirely  incoherent.  His  going  to  the 
Springs  is  out  of  the  question,  and  mine,  I  fear,  equally  so,  although 
my  rheumatism  requires  the  warm  bath.  By  this  time  you  are  on 
your  way  thither.  Except  that  it  is  too  cold,  the  weather  could  not 
have  been  finer. 

AVhat  a  climate  we  live  under  ! 

As  to  peace,  I  have  not  a  doubt  that  we  shall  have  it  forthwith. 
Our  folks  are  prepared  to  say  that  the   pacification   of  Europe  has 

swept  away  the  matters  in  contestation,  as  M ,  the  Secretary  of 

State,  has  it.  All  that  we  see  in  the  Government  prints  is  to  recon- 
cile us  the  better  to  the  terms  which  they  must  receive  from  the 
enemy.  From  the  time  of  his  flight  from  Egypt,  my  opinion  of  the 
character  of  Bonaparte  has  never  changed,  except  for  the  worse.  I 
have  considered  him  from  that  date  a  coward,  and  ascribed  his  suc- 
cess to  the  deity  he  worships.  Fortune.  His  insolence  and  rashness 
have  met  their  just  reward.  Had  he  found  an  efficient  government 
in  France,  on  his  abandonment  of  his  brave  companions  in  arms  in 
Egypt,  and  returned  to  Paris,  he  would  have  been  cashiered  for  ruin- 
ing the  best  appointed  armament  that  ever  left  an  European  port. 
But  all  was  confusion  and  anarchy  at  Paris,  and  instead  of  a  coup  de 
fusil,  he  was  rewarded  with  a  sceptre.  He  succeeded  in  throwing 
the  blame  of  Aboukir  on  poor  Brueys.  He  could  safely  talk  of 
"  his  orders  to  the  Admiral,"  after  L' Orient  had  blown  up.  His 
Russian  and  German  campaign  is  another  such  commentary  on  his 
character  ;  it  is  all  of  a  piece. 

If  the  allies  adhere  to  their  treaty  of  Chaumont,  the  peace  of  Eu- 
rope will  be  preserved  ;  but  in  France,  I  think,  the  seeds  of  disorder 
must  abound.  Instead  of  the  triple  aristocracy  of  the  Noblesse,  the 
Church,  and  the  Parliaments,  I  see  nothing  but  janissaries,  and  a 
divan  of  ruffians — Algiers  on  a  great  scale.  Moral  causes  I  see 
none ;  and  I  am  well  persuaded  that  these  are  not  created  in  a  day. 
Matters  of  inveterate  opinion,  when  once  rooted  up,  are  dead,  never 
to  revive  ;  other  opinions  must  succeed  them.     But  I  am  prosing — 


42  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

uttering  a  string  of  common-place  that  every  one  can  write,  and  no 
one  can  deny.  But  you  brought  it  on  yourself.  You  expected 
that  I  would  say  something,  and  I  resolved  to  try.  I  can  bear  wit- 
ness to  the  fact  of  Mrs.  Brockenbrough's  prediction  respecting  Bona- 
parte's retirement.  I  wish  I  were  permitted  to  name  five  ladies  who 
should  constitute  the  Cabinet  of  this  country ;  our  affairs  would  be 
conducted  in  another  guess  manner.  This  reminds  me  of  Mrs.  G-.,  of 
whom  I  have  at  last  heard.  Mr.  G.  wrote  me  late  in  February,  from 
London.  They  were  going  to  Bath,  and  "  if  circumstances  on  the 
continent  would  permit,  meant  to  take  a  tour  through  France." 
How  well-timed  their  trip  to  Europe  has  been. 

I  am  here  completely  hors  du  rnonde.     My  neighbor, ,  with 

whom  I  have  made  a  violent  effort  to  establish  an  intercourse,  has 
been  here  twice,  by  invitation — W.  Leigh,  as  often,  on  his  way  to 
court ;  and  on  Saturday,  I  was  agreeably  surprised,  by  stumbling  on 
Frank  Gilmer,  who  was  wandering  to  and  fro  in  the  woods,  seeking 
my  cabin.  He  left  on  Tuesday  for  his  brother's  in  Henry.  Except 
my  standing  dish,  you  have  my  whole  society  for  nine  ivceks.  On  the 
terms  by  which  I  hold  it,  life  is  a  curse,  from  which  I  would  will- 
ingly escape,  if  I  knew  where  to  fly.  I  have  lost  my  relish  for  read- 
ing ;  indeed,  I  could  not  devour  even  the  Corsair  with  the  zest  that 
Lord  Byron's  pen  generally  inspires.  It  is  very  inferior  to  the 
Giaour,  or  the  Bride.  The  character  of  Conrad  is  unnatural.  Blessed 
with  his  mistress,  he  had  no  motive  for  desperation. 

My  plantation  affairs,  always  irksome,  are  now  revolting.  I  have 
lost  three-fourths  of  the  finest  and  largest  crop  I  ever  had. 

My  best  respects  and  regard  to  Mrs.  B. 

I  am,  as  ever,  yours, 

John  Randolph  of  Roanoke. 

Dr.  Dudley  is  (as  you  may  suppose)  a  treasure  to  me  above  all 
price.  Without  him,  what  should  I  do  1  He  desires  his  respects  to 
you  both. 

As  to  an  English  Constitution  for  France,  they  will  have  one 
when  they  all  speak  the  English  language,  and  not  before.  Have 
you  read  Morris's  oration  on  the  29th  of  June  ?  His  description  of 
Bonaparte,  "taking  money  for  his  crown,"  is  very  fine.  It  is  a  pic- 
ture. I  see  him.  There  are  some  cuts  in  the  same  page  that  our 
fulminating  statesmen  will  not  like. 

Sunday  the  \Hh. — I  am  compelled  to  be  at  Prince  Edward 
Court  to-morrow,  and  the  weather  is  so  intolerably  hot,  that  I  shall 
go  a  part  of  the  way  this  afternoon,  and  put  my  letter  in  the  Farm- 
ville  post-office,  whence  it  will  go  direct  to  Richmond,  instead  of 
waiting  five  days  on  the  road.  Our  crops,  lately  drowned,  are  now 
burning  up.  I  begin  to  feel  the  effects  of  the  fresh  in  my  health  as 
well  as  my  purse.     Dudley  and  myself  both  have  experienced  the  ill 


ANCESTRAL  PRIDE.  43 

consequences  of  our  daily  visits  to  the  low  grounds.  The  negroes, 
however,  continue  healthy.  Out  of  more  than  two  hundred,  not  a 
patient  since  I  came  home. 

Who  is  it  that  says  '•  il-y-a  tant  de  plaisir  a  havarder  avec  un 
ami !"  Perhaps  you  will  reply  that  the  pleasure  is  not  so  great  ctre 
bavardi. 

Randolph  to   Key. 

Roanoke,  July  31,  1814. 
Affliction  has  assailed  me  in  a  new  shape.  My  younger  nephew 
whom  you  saw  in  G-.  Town  two  years  ago  has  fallen,  I  fear,  into  a  con- 
firmed pulmonary  consumption.  He  was  the  pride,  the  sole  hope  of 
our  family.  How  shall  I  announce  to  his  wretched  mother  that  the 
last  stay  of  her  widowed  life  is  falling  ?  Give  me  some  comfort,  my 
good  friend,  I  beseech  you.  He  is  now  travelling  by  slow  journeys 
home.  What  a  scene  awaits  him  there  !  His  birth-place  in  ashes, 
his  mother  worn  to  a  skeleton  with  disease  and  grief,  his  brother  cut 
off  from  all  that  distinguishes  man  to  his  advantage  from  the  brute 
beast.  I  do  assure  you  that  my  own  reason  has  staggered  under  this 
cruel  blow.  I  know,  or  rather  have  a  confused  conception  of  what 
I  ought  to  do,  and  sometimes  strive,  not  altogether  ineffectually  I 
hope,  to  do  it ;  but  again  all  is  chaos  and  misery.  My  faculties  are 
benumbed ;  I  feel  suffocated  ;  let  me  hear  from  you.  I  pray. 


Yours,  in  truth, 


J.  R. 


St.  George,  my  elder  nephew,  is  calm  and  governable,  but  entirely 
irrational.  Commend  me  to  Mrs.  Key,  and  to  Ridgely  and  West. 
Since  writing  the  above  my  whole  crop  (tobacco  and  corn)  is  destroyed 
by  a  fresh,  the  greatest  that  has  been  known  within  twenty  years.  I 
fear  a  famine  next  summer ;  for  this  country,  if  we  had  the  means  of 
buying,  is  out  of  the  way  of  a  supply,  except  by  distant  land-carriage, 
and  the  harvests  of  Rappahannock,  &c,  cannot  be  brought  up  to 
Richmond  by  water.     The  poor  slaves  I  fear  will  suffer  dreadfully. 


Randolph  to  Brockenbrovgli. 

Roanoke,  Aug.  1,  1814. 
You  find  in  me,  I  fear,  not  merely  an  unprofitable  but  a  trouble- 
some correspondent ;  all  my  conversation  is  on  paper.  I  have  no  one 
to  converse  with,  for  I  have  hardly  seen  Dudley  since  my  return  from 
Farmville.  and  I  try  to  forget  myself,  or  to  obtain  some  relief  from  my 
own  thoughts,  by  pouring  them  out  on  one  who  has  heretofore  lent  to 
me  perhaps  too  partial  an  ear.   I  have  lived  to  feel  that  there  are  "  many 


44  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

things  worse  than  poverty  or  death,"  those  bugbears  that  terrify  tho 
great  children  of  the  world,  and  sometimes  drive  them  to  eternal  ruin. 
It  requires,  however,  firmer  nerves  than  mine  to  contemplate,  without 
shrinking,  even  in  prospect,  the  calamities  which  await  this  unhappy 
district  of  country — famine  and  all  its  concomitant  horrors  of  dis- 
ease and  misery.  To  add  to  the  picture,  a  late  requisition  of  militia 
for  Norfolk  carries  dismay  and  grief  into  the  bosoms  of  many  fami- 
lies in  this  country ;  and  to  have  a  just  conception  of  the  scene,  it  is 
necessary  to  be  on  the  spot.  This  is  our  court  day,  when  the  con- 
scripts are  to  report  themselves,  and  I  purposely  abstain  from  the 
sight  of  wretchednes  that  I  cannot  relieve.  I  have  indeed  enough  of 
it  at  home.  The  river  did  not  abate  in  its  rise  until  last  night  at 
sunset.  •  It  has,  after  twenty -four  hours,  just  retired  within  its  banks. 
The  ruin  is  tremendous.  The  granary  of  this  part  of  the  State  is 
rifled  of  its  stores.  Where  then  are  the  former  furnishers  of  the 
great  support  of  life  to  look  for  a  supply  ?  With  a  family  of  more 
than  two  hundred  mouths  looking  up  to  me  for  food,  I  feel  an  awful 
charge  on  my  hands.  It  is  easy  to  rid  myself  of  the  burthen  if  I  could 
shut  my  heart  to  the  cry  of  humanity  and  the  voice  of  duty.  But  in 
these  poor  slaves  I  have  found  my  best  and  most  faithful  friends ; 
and  I  feel  that  it  would  be  more  difficult  to  abandon  them  to  the  cruel 
fate  to  which  our  laws  would  consign  them,  than  to  suffer  with  them. 

Among  other  of  his  tracts,  I  have  been  reading  to-day  Burke  on 
the  Policy  of  the  Allies.  If  the  book  is  within  your  reach,  pray  give 
it  a  perusal.  It  has  a  strong  bearing  on  the  present  circumstances 
of  France.  A  thousand  conceptions  have  arisen  in  my  mind  on  that 
subject  and  on  the  actual  condition  of  our  country,  which  I  regret 
it  has  not  been  in  my  power  to  commit  to  paper ;  but  these  bubbles  of 
the  imagination  have  vanished :  I  could  not  embody  them  in  the 
happy  moment  of  projection.  You  see  that  I  speak  the  language  of 
an  adept,  although  hardly  out  of  my  noviciate. 


CHAPTEE  III. 


MILITARY    CAMPAIGN. 


Some  time  in  the  month  of  July,  1814,  Cochrane  made  his  appear- 
ance in  the  Chesapeake.  This  appearance  of  a  formidable  enemy 
within  their  own  borders,  spread  consternation  among  the  unprotected 
people    along  the  shores.     Many   depredations    and    outrages  were 


MILITARY  CAMPAIGN  45 

committed  at  Hampton,  Havre  de  Grace,  and  other  exposed  places. 
Finally  an  army  was  landed  and  marched  across  the  country  towards 
Washington  City.  They  were  met  by  a  body  of  raw  militia  and  a  few 
marines,  at  Bladensburg,  where  was  fought,  or  rather  was  run,  the 
celebrated  races  of  Bladensburg.  Washington  fell  into  the  hands  of 
the  enemy,  and  the  archives  and  public  buildings  were  destroyed.  On 
the  news  of  this  disaster,  Randolph  hastened  to  the  scene  of  action, 
prepared,  if  occasion  required,  to  lend  his  aid  in  defending  the  shores 
of  Virginia. 

The  following  letter,  addressed  to  Dr.  Dudley,  will  show  how  the 
military  spirit  had  come  over  him  : 

Camp  Fairfield,  September  2,  1814. 
My  dear  Theodore — You  may  be  surprised  at  not  hearing 
from  me.  But,  first,  I  lost  my  horses  ;  secondly,  I  got  a  violent 
bilious  complaint,  not  cholera,  but  cousin-german  to  it ;  thirdly,  I 
heard  the  news  of  Washington,  and,  without  delay,  proceeded  hither. 
I  am  now  under  orders  to  proceed  to  the  brick  house,  forty-two  miles 
on  York  road,  just  below  the  confluence  of  Pamunkey  and  Mattapony. 
Should  you  come  down,  report  yourself  to  the  surgeon-general,  Dr. 
Jones,  of  Nottoway.  But  first  come  to  camp,  and  see  Watkins 
Leigh,  the  governor's  aid. 

But  his  military  career  was  very  brief.  Finding  that  the  enemy 
meditated  an  attack  on  Baltimore,  and  that  all  danger  of  an  imme- 
diate invasion  of  the  shores  of  Virginia  had  passed  by,  he  hastened 
back  to  Richmond.  On  the  8th  of  September,  he  writes  to  Mr.  Key 
from  that  city : 

"  I  have  been  here  ten  days,  including  four  spent  in  reconnoiter- 
ing  the  lower  country  between  York  and  James  River,  from  the  con- 
fluence of  Mattapony  and  Pamunkey  to  the  mouth  of  Chickahomany. 
You  will  readily  conceive  my  anxiety  on  the  subject  of  my  friends 
at  Blenheim,  the  Woodyard,  and  Alexandria.  Thank  God  !  George- 
town is  safe.  1  was  in  terror  for  you  and  yours.  Pray,  let  me  hear 
from  you.  Tell  me  something  of  Sterrett  Ridgely,  and  remember 
me  to  him  and  all  who  care  to  remember  me.  I  have  witnessed  a  sad 
spectacle  in  my  late  ride  ;  but  I  do  not  wish  to  depress  your  spirits. 
Dudley  is  at  home  with  St.  George.  Poor  Tudor  is  ill,  very  ill,  at 
Mr.  Morris's,  near  New- York. 

Mr.  Randolph  remained  in  Richmond  about  a  month.  Hearing 
still  more  unfavorable  tidings  of  his  nephew,  he  set  out  about  the 
9th  of  October  on  a  journey  to  Morrisania,  the  family  residence  of 


46  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

Governeur  Morris.  Esq.,  near  the  city  of  New-York.  On  the  13th,  he 
writes  from  Baltimore  to  Dudley  : 

"  I  have  been  detained  here  since  Monday,  by  the  consequences  of 
an  accident  that  befel  me  at  Port  Conway  (opposite  Port  Royal),  on 
Monday  morning.  At  three  o'clock,  I  was  roused  to  set  out  in  the 
stage.  Mistaking,  in  the  dark,  a  very  steep  staircase  for  a  passage, 
at  the  end  of  which  I  expected  to  find  the  descent, — walking  boldly 
on,  I  fell  from  the  top  to  the  bottom,  and  was  taken  up  senseless. 
My  left  shoulder  and  elbow  were  severely  hurt ;  also  the  right  ankle. 
My  hat  saved  my  head,  which  was  bruised,  but  not  cut.  Neverthe- 
less, I  persevered,  got  to  Georgetown,  and  the  next  day  came  to  this 
place,  where  I  have  been  compelled  to  remain  in  great  pain.1' 

October  23d,  1814,  he  writes  from  Morrisania: 

"  After  various  accidents,  one  of  which  had  nearly  put  an  end  to 
my  unprosperous  life,  and  confined  me  nearly  a  week  on  the  road,  I 
reached  this  place  yesterday.  Tudor  is  better  ;  I  have  hopes  of  him, 
if  we  can  get  him  to  Virginia  in  his  present  plight." 

November  17th,  he  again  writes  to  Dr.  Dudley  : 

"  On  returning  from  Morrisania,  on  Sunday,  the  24th  of  October, 
the  driver  overturned  me  in  Cortlandt-street,  by  driving  over  a  pile 
of  stones,  &c,  before  a  new  house,  unfinished,  which  nuisance  extended 
more  than  half  way  across  a  narrow  street.  I  am  very  seriously  in- 
jured. The  patella  is,  in  itself,  unhurt ;  but  the  ligaments  are  very 
much  wrenched,  so  that  a  tight  bandage  alone  enables  me  to  hobble  from 
one  room  to  another  with  the  help  of  a  stick.  I  hope  to  be  able  to 
bear  the  motion  of  a  carriage  by  the  last  of  this  week.  I  shall  then 
go  to  Philadelphia,  and  hope  to  see  you  by  the  first  of  next  month  ; 
assuredly  (God  willing)  before  Christmas.  I  am  a  poor  miserable 
cripple,  and  you  are  my  only  support." 

He  arrived  in  Philadelphia  about  the  first  of  December,  and  re- 
mained in  that  city  the  greater  part  of  the  winter,  the  weather  being 
too  inclement  for  him  to  travel.  His  time  was  most  agreeably  spent 
in  the  society  of  some  of  his  old  and  most  valued  friends.  Mrs.  Clay, 
the  widow  of  his  late  much  lamented  friend,  Joseph  Clay  ;  Dr.  Chap- 
man, Mr.  Parish.,  and  others.  The  son  of  Mr.  Clay,  who  bore  his 
name,  John  Randolph  Clay,  he  took  to  Virginia  with  him,  defrayed 
the  expenses  of  his  education  for  a  number  of  years,  and  watched 
over  him  with  the  care  and  anxiety  of  a  father. 

On  his  arrival  in  Richmond,  he  thus  writes  to  Mr.  Key : 

Richmond.  March  9.  1815. 
Dear  Frank  : — I  have  lately  got  out  of  the  habit  of  writing  to 
my  friends,  even  to  you — you  to  whom   I  am  so  much  indebted. 


MILITARY  CAMPAIGN.  47 

Such  is  the  consequence  of  that  state  of  mind  under  which  I  have 
unhappily  labored  for  a  long,  long  time  past — the  victim  of  ennui, 
indolence,  and  despair.  I  am  not  even  as  thankful  as  I  ought  to  be 
for  the  great  blessing  lately  vouchsafed  us,  at  the  moment  when  the 
wits  of  our  rulers  had  become  inextricably  puzzled,  and  all  their  ex- 
pedients to  raise  men  or  money  had  failed.  Well,  here  is  a  peace  at 
last ;  and  a  peace,  if  I  may  judge  of  the  stagnation  here,  very  like 
a  war  :  but  this  topic  has  become  stale  and  threadbare. 

I  found  my  poor  boy  here  worse  than  I  left  him  four  months 
before,  and  daily  declining.  I  must  try  to  send  him  to  the  Mediter- 
ranean coast  of  Europe,  although  with  little  hope.  Sometimes  I 
think  he  had  better  give  up  his  innocent  life  in  the  arms  of  his  poor 
mother,  instead  of  perishing  (as  I  fear  will  be  his  lot  should  he  cross 
the  Atlantic)  among  strangers  in  a  foreign  land  !  Yet,  again,  what 
boots  it  where  we  die. 

What  are  you  going  to  do — have  you  given  up  the  editorial 
scheme  1  Do  you  really  think  that  the  mere  restoration  of  peace 
has  anticipated  all  your  schemes  to  be  of  service  to  this  poor  country? 
Are  the  present  men  and  measures  riveted  upon  the  nation,  at  least 
for  our  lifetime  ?  I  think  so,  and  therefore  I  wish  to  keep  out  of 
the  vortex  "  betwixt  vexed  Scvlla  and  the  hoarse  Calabrian  shore  ;" 
not  to  tread  that  "  huge  Serbonian  bog,  where  armies  whole  (of 
politicians)  have  sunk." 

Do  not  think  this  a  nolo  episcopari,  because  of  a  certain  letter 
that  you  may  have  seen.  Times  have  changed  since  that  letter  was 
written,  and  nos  mutamus  in  illis.  If  I  can  compass  it,  I  will  go 
with  my  poor  sick  boy,  and  sit  by  him  and  comfort  him  as  well  as 
I  can. 

On  his  return  home.  Mr.  Randolph  was  urged  by  his  old  friends 
to  become  a  candidate  for  Congress  in  the  approaching  elections ; 
they  assailed  him  on  all  hands,  entreated  him,  followed  him  with 
solicitations  that  brooked  no  denial.  Many  who  had  deserted  him 
on  a  former  occasion  wished  for  an  opportunity  to  retrieve  them- 
selves, and  to  show  their  high  appreciation  of  a  man  whom,  in  the 
hour  of  excitement  and  party  blindness,  they  had  been  induced  to 
abandon.  The  communication  of  the  determination  of  his  friends  to 
support  him  at  the  ensuing  election  brought  out  a  swarm  of  detract- 
ors, whom  he  was  urged  to  answer.  He  steadily  refused.  "  It  is  too 
late,"  says  he,  "  in  the  day  to  vindicate  my  public  character  before  a 
people  whom  I  represented  fourteen  years,  and  whom,  if  they  do  not 
now  know  me,  never  will.  I  therefore  abstain  from  all  places  of  public 
resort,  as  well  from  inclination  as  principle."     He  entered  the  field 


48  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

with  his  old  competitor,  Mr.  Epps,  and  was  triumphantly  elected. 
"Writing  to  Mr.  Key  on  the  25th  of  April,  he  says  :  "  You  will  have 
heard  of  my  re-election  ;  an  event  which  has  given  me  no  pleasure, 
except  so  far  as  it  has  been  gratifying  to  my  friends.  It  is  a  station 
as  unfit  for  me  as  I  am  for  it.  For  a  long  time  my  mind  has  refused 
to  travel  in  that  track.  I  cannot  force  myself  to  think  on  the  sub- 
ject of  my  public  affairs.  I  am  engrossed  by  reflections  of  a  very 
different,  and  far  more  important  nature.  I  am  '  a  stricken  deer,' 
and  feel  disposed  to  '  leave  the  hind.'  The  hand  of  calamity  has 
pressed  sorely  upon  me ;  I  do  not  repine  at  it.  On  the  contrary,  I 
return  thanks  for  the  (apparent)  evil  as  well  as  good,  which  He  who 
knows  what  is  best  for  me  has  appointed  for  my  portion  in  this  life. 
May  it  have  the  effect  of  drawing  me  close  unto  Him,  without  whose 
gracious  mercy  I  feel  that  I  am  a  lost,  undone  creature." 

Mr.  Key  expressed  himself  sincerely  gratified  at  the  triumph  of 
his  friend  :  "  Such  an  one,"  says  he,  "  has  not  to  my  knowledge  ever 
fallen  to  the  lot  of  any  man.  It  does  equal  honor  to  the  electors 
and  the  elected."  Mr.  Key  delicately  suggested  to  him  that  there  is 
a  virtue,  the  most  difficult,  but  the  most  noble,  which  he  was  now 
called  upon  to  practise ;  it  was  to  show  the  meekness  and  moderation 
of  true  magnanimity  after  so  signal  a  victory.  "  Excuse  me,"  says 
he,  "  for  thinking  of  reminding  you  of  this.  It  springs  from  a 
heart,  among  whose  warmest  wishes  it  is,  that  you  should  exhibit 
every  grace  and  dignity  of  which  this  poor  frail  nature  of  ours  is 
capable." 

Randolph,  in  reply,  says :  "  You  will  have  perceived  I  hope,  my  good 

friend,  from  my  letter  by  Dr. ,  that  I  have  felt  no  disposition  to 

indulge  in  an  unbecoming  triumph  on  the  event  of  the  late  election 
in  this  district.  I  do  assure  you  with  the  utmost  sincerity,  that,  so 
far  as  I  am  personally  concerned,  I  cannot  but  regret  the  partiality 
of  my  friends,  who  insisted  on  holding  me  up  on  this  occasion.  I 
am  engrossed  by  sentiments  of  a  far  different  character,  and  I  look 
forward  to  the  future  in  this  world,  to  say  nothing  of  the  next,  with 
anticipations  that  forbid  any  idle  expression  of  exultation.  On  the 
contrary,  my  sensations  are  such  as  become  a  dependent  creature, 
whose  only  hope  for  salvation  rests  upon  the  free  grace  of  Him  to 
whom  we  must  look  for  peace  in  this  world,  as  well  as  in  the  world 
to  come.     I  cannot  give  expression  to  the  feelings  which  fill  my 


NEW  ENGLAND.  49 

mind,  and  by  which  it  is  overcome  ;  I  struggle  even  with  the  diffi- 
culty of  repressing  them  on  occasions,  and  before  persons,  where  the 
only  effect  would  be  to  cover  me  with  ridicule." 


•  •  •- 


CHAPTEE    IV. 

NEW   ENGLAND. 

The  subjects  of  difficulty  between  the  United  States  and  Great  Britain 
affected  the  interests  of  the  New  England  States  more  than  any  other 
section  of  the  Union.     It  was  their  seamen  that  were  captured,  their 
carrying  trade  tnat  was  interdicted  by  maritime  adjudications,  their 
shipping  and  commerce  that  were  crippled  and  destroyed  by  the  or- 
ders in  council.     The  Southern  States,  being  wholly  given   to  plant- 
ing and  other  agricultural  pursuits,  were  only  affected  by  the  tempo- 
rary suspension  of  a  market  for   the  sale  of  their  products.     Both, 
however,  united  in  their  petitions  and  remonstrances  to  Congress, 
and  in  demands  for  a  redress  of  their  grievances.     But  when  the 
measures  adopted  for  this  purpose  began  to  operate,  it  was  found  by 
the  New  England   States  that  the   remedy  was  more  burthensome 
and  destructive  than  the  evils  complained  of.     An  American  seaman 
was  occasionally  captured,  but  as  a  compensation  hundreds  of  British 
sailors  fled  to  our  more  lucrative  and  agreeable  service.     Much  too 
frequently,  it  is  true,  an   American  vessel  and  her  cargo  were  con- 
demned by  a  British  court  of  admiralty,  yet  many  escaped  and  pur- 
sued a  successful  and  profitable  voyage  ;   but  the  embargo  drove  ev- 
ery seaman  from  the  service,  and  by  one  fell  blow  put  an  end  to  all 
commerce.     Before  this  fatal  expedient  there  was  hazard  in  every 
enterprise,  but  there  was  hope   to  cheer  on  the  adventurers ;  now 
even  hope  was  extinguished,  and  the  means  of  winning  a  precarious 
subsistence  from  the  perilous  deep  were  wrested  from  them.     These 
were  the  feelings  and  opinions  in  New  England.     Massachusetts  in- 
terposed her  authority ;  pronounced  the  law  unconstitutional  and  op- 
pressive, and  declared,  that  unless  some  speedy  remedy  were  applied, 
necessity,  the  law  of  self-preservation  that  rises  above  all  other  law, 
would  impel  her  to  some  ulterior  and  more  decisive  course.     To  the 
vol.  11.  4 


50  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

honor  of  Mr.  Jeft'erson  be  it  said,  he  yielded  to  the  necessity  of  the 
case,  and  consented  to  a  repeal  of  the  embargo  laws.  Up  to  this 
period  there  was  nothing  but  what  was  highly  creditable  to  both  par- 
ties. But  Mr.  Jefferson  had  gone  into  retirement,  and  other  coun- 
cils ruled  the  destiny  of  the  nation.  Measure  after  measure  was 
adopted,  embarrassing  and  ruinous  to  the  interests  of  New  England, 
until  finally  the  whole  nation  was  plunged  in  war.  All  its  armies 
and  military  resources  were  transported  to  the  frontiers  of  Canada, 
and  pledged  to  a  war  of  aggression  and  conquest,  while  the  Atlantic 
borders  were  left  exposed  to  the  ravages  of  the  enemy.  Napoleon 
had  been  conquered  by  the  frosts  of  Russia,  and  was  an  exile  on  the 
shores  of  Elba.  England  had  redoubled  her  energies  and  made  the 
war  a  vindictive  punishment  of  the  people  for  the  sins  of  their  gov- 
ernment— rapine,  brutality,  and  murder  followed  in  the  train  of  her 
armies,  and  their  approach  was  more  to  be  dreaded  by  the  helpless 
and  the  innocent,  than  the  invasion  of  the  traitorous  Arnold.  In 
this  state  of  affairs  Massachusetts  again  interposed  ;  but  times  had 
changed ;  the  country  was  involved  in  war,  and  whether  right  or 
wrong,  she  required  all  good  citizens  to  help  to  bring  it  to  a  success- 
ful end.  New  England  at  this  crisis  was  charged — at  least  Massa- 
chusetts, Rhode  Island,  and  Connecticut  were  charged — with  the  de- 
sign of  seeking  a  separate  peace  with  Great  Britain,  and  placing 
themselves  in  a  position  of  neutrality  during  the  further  progress  of 
the  war,  if  indeed  they  did  not  cherish  the  ulterior  purpose  of  a 
complete  and  final  separation  from  the  other  States  of  the  Union. 

Whether  this  accusation  be  true  or  not,  forms  no  part  of  our  in- 
quiry. We  would  fain  hope — indeed  we  have  good  reason  to  believe 
that  it  was  untrue — and  that  it  formed  a  part  of  those  party  tactics 
which  are  too  often  resorted  to  to  bring  odium  on  political  opponents, 
by  misrepresenting  their  designs  and  their  motives.  The  accusation, 
however,  was  made  at  the  time  by  the  minority  of  the  Massachusetts 
Legislature  that  opposed  the  election  of  delegates  to  the  Hartford 
Convention. 

At  this  dark  and  melancholy  period,  when  a  vindictive  foreign 
war  was  ravaging  our  coasts,  and  disrupture  and  civil  war  were 
threatened  within,  Mr.  Randolph  was  called  upon  to  interpose  his 
good  offices  in  behalf  of  his  country.  He  was  told  that  his  voice 
would  be  heard  in   New  England,  and  that  his  admonitions  would 


NEW  ENGLAND.  51 

receive  their  just  consideration.  He  did  not  hesitate  to  give  them — 
in  the  midst  of  pain,  disease,  domestic  affliction,  and  mental  suffering, 
he  addressed  to  the  people  of  New  England,  through  one  of  her  dis- 
tinguished Senators,  the  following  letter.  Let  it  be  read  with  atten- 
tion ;  it  does  honor  to  the  head  and  to  the  heart  of  the  man  that 
penned  it.  The  reader  cannot  fail  to  be  animated  by  the  patriotism 
that  glowed  in  his  bosom,  and  to  be  cheered  by  the  high  appreciation 
he  placed  on  the  value  of  the  Union,  not  as  an  end  to  be  maintained 
at  all  hazards,  but  as  a  means  to  secure  the  peace  and  the  happiness 
of  the  whole  country.  Let  it  not  be  said,  after  a  perusal  of  this  let- 
ter, that  Mr.  Randolph  entertained  unfounded  and  unreasonable  pre- 
judices against  the  people  of  New  England.  He  cherished  no  such 
feelings.  When  New  England  became  the  advocate  of  a  system  of 
protection  that  proved  to  be  as  ruinous  to  the  interests  of  his  people 
as  the  embargo  had  been  to  them,  he  did  not  complain  and  declare 
in  his  peculiar  and  emphatic  way,  that  nothing  manufactured  north 
of  Mason  and  Dixon's  line  should  ever  enter  into  his  house  ;  but  he 
never  ceased  to  cherish  towards  the  people  of  New  England  the  pro- 
foundest  sentiments  of  respect  and  regard. 

Philadelphia,  Dec.  15,  1814. 

Dear  Sir, — You  will  doubtless  be  surprised,  but  (I  trust)  not 
offended  at  the  receipt  of  this  letter.  Of  the  motives  which  dictate 
it  I  shall  forbear  to  speak  :  let  them  be  gathered  from  its  context. 
But  should  you  ascribe  my  selection  of  you  as  the  object  of  its  ad- 
dress to  any  other  cause  than  respect  for  your  character  and  confi- 
dence in  your  love  of  country,  you  will  have  done  much  injustice  to 
me  ;  but  more  to  yourself. 

At  Washington,  I  learned  the  result  of  the  dispatches  brought 
by  the  John  Adams  (a  name  of  evil  omen),  and  there  rumors  were 
afloat,  which  have  since  gathered  strength,  of  a  disposition  in  Massa- 
chusetts, and  indeed  throughout  New  England,  to  follow  the  example 
of  Nantucket,  and  declare  for  a  neutrality  in  the  present  contest 
with  Great  Britain.  I  will  not  believe  it.  What !  Boston,  the  cra- 
dle of  American  independence,  to  whose  aid  Virginia  stept  forth  un- 
solicited, when  the  whole  vengeance  of  the  British  ministry  was 
wreaked  on  that  devoted  town.  Boston  !  now  to  desert  us,  in  our 
utmost  need,  to  give  up  her  old  ally  to  ravage,  at  the  price  of  her 
own  impunity  from  the  common  enemy  ? — I  cannot,  will  not  believe 
it.  The  men,  if  any  such  there  be  among  you,  who  venture  to  insin- 
uate such  an  intent  by  the  darkest  inuendo,  do  they  claim  to  be  the 
disciples  of  Washington  ?     They  are  of  the   school  of  Arnold.     I 


52  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

am  not  insensible  to  the  vexations  and  oppressions,  with  which  you 
have  been  harassed,  with  little  intermission,  since  the  memorable 
embargo  of  1807.  These  I  am  disposed,  as  you  well  know,  neither 
to  excuse,  nor  to  extenuate.  Perhaps  I  may  be  reminded  of  an  au- 
thority, to  which  I  always  delight  to  refer,  "  Segnius  irritant  amnios, 
SfC."  but  let  me  tell  such  gentlemen,  that  our  sufferings  under  politi- 
cal quacks  of  our  own  calling  in,  are  not  matter  of  hearsay.  It  is 
true  they  are  considered  by  the  unhappy,  misguided  patient,  as  evi- 
dence of  the  potency  and  consequently  (according  to  his  system  of 
logic)  of  the  efficacy  of  the  medicine,  as  well  as  the  inveteracy  of  the 
disease.  It  is  not  less  true  that  this  last  has  become,  from  prepos- 
terous treatment,  in  the  highest  degree  alarming.  The  patient  him- 
self begins  to  suspect  something  of  the  sort,  and  the  doctors  trem- 
bling, each  for  his  own  character,  are  quarrelling  and  calling  hard 
names  among  themselves.  But  they  have  reduced  us  to  such  a  con- 
dition, that  nothing  short  of  the  knife  will  now  do.  "We  must 
fight,  Mr.  Speaker !"  said  Patrick  Henry  in  1775,  when  his  sagacious 
mind  saw  there  was  nothing  else  left  for  us  but  manly  resistance  or 
slavish  submission  ;  and  his  tongue  dared  to  utter  what  his  heart 
suggested.  How  much  greater  the  necessity  now,  when  our  country 
is  regarded  not  as  a  property  to  be  recovered,  and  therefore  spared, 
so  far  as  is  compatible  with  the  end  in  view ;  but  as  an  object  of 
vengeance,  of  desolation. 

You  know  my  sentiments  of  the  men  at  the  head  of  our  affairs, 
and  of  the  general  course  of  administration  during  the  last  eight 
years.  You  know  also  that  the  relation,  in  which  I  stand  towards 
them,  is  one  of  my  own  deliberate  choice ;  sanctioned  not  more  by 
my  judgment  than  by  my  feelings.  You,  who  have  seen  men  (in  the 
ranks,  when  I  commanded  in  chief  in  the  House  of  Representatives, 
and  others,  at  that  time  too  green  to  be  on  the  political  muster  roll 
— whose  names  had  never  been  pronounced  out  of  their  own  parish) 
raised  to  the  highest  offices  ;  you  who  are  thoroughly  acquainted  with 
the  whole  progress  of  my  separation  from  the  party  with  which  I 
was  once  connected  in  conduct,  do  not  require  to  be  told,  that  "  there 
was  a  time  in  which  I  stood  in  such  favor  in  the  closet,  that  there 
must  have  been  something  extravagantly  unreasonable  in  my  wishes, 
if  they  might  not  all  have  been  gratified."  But  I  must  acknow- 
ledge that  you  have  seen  instances  of  apostasy  among  your  quondam 
political  associates,  as  well  as  my  own,  that  might  almost  justify  a 
suspicion,  that  I  too,  tired  of  holding  out,  may  wish  to  make  my 
peace  with  the  administration,  by  adding  one  more  item  "  to  the  long 
catalogue  of  venality  from  Esau  to  the  present  day."  Should  such 
a  shade  of  suspicion  pass  across  your  mind,  I  can  readily  excuse  it, 
in  consideration  of  the  common  frailty  of  our  nature,  from  which  I 
claim  no  peculiar  exemption,  and  the  transcendent  wickedness  of  the 


NEW  ENGLAND.  53 

times  we  live  in  ;  but  you  will  have  given  me  credit  for  a  talent 
which  I  do  not  possess.  I  am  master  of  no  such  ambidexterity ; 
and  were  I  to  attempt  this  game,  which  it  is  only  for  adepts  (not 
novices)  to  play  !  I  am  thoroughly  conscious,  that  like  other  bung- 
ling rogues,  I  should  at  once  expose  my  knavery  and  miss  my  object 
— not  that  our  political  church  refuses  to  open  her  arms  to  the  vilest 
of  heretics  and  sinners  who  can  seal  their  abjuration  of  their  old 
faith  by  the  prosecution  of  the  brethren  with  whom  they  held  and 
professed  it :  but  I  know  that  my  nerves  are  of  too  weak  a  fibre  to 
hear  the  question  ordinary  and  extraordinary  from  our  political  in- 
quisitors. I  can  sustain  with  composure  and  even  with  indifference 
the  rancorous  hatred  of  the  numerous  enemies,  whom  it  has  been  my 
lot  to  make  in  the  course  of  my  unprosperous  life — but  I  have  not 
yet  steeled  myself  to  endure  the  contemptuous  pity  of  those  noble 
and  high-minded  men,  whom  I  glory  to  call  my  friends,  and  I  am  on 
too  bad  terms  with  the  world,  to  encounter  my  own  self-disrespect. 

You  may  however  very  naturally  ask,  why  I  have  chosen  you  for 
the  object  of  this  address?  Why  I  have  not  rather  selected  some 
one  of  those  political  friends,  whom  I  have  yet  found  "  faithful  among 
the  faithless,"  as  the  vehicle  of  my  opinions?  It  is  because  the  ave- 
nue to  the  public  ear  is  shut  against  me  in  Virginia,  and  I  have  been 
flattered  to  believe  that  the  sound  of  my  voice  may  reach  New  Eng- 
land. Nay.  that  it  would  be  heard  there,  not  without  attention  and 
respect.  With  us  the  press  is  under  a  virtual  imprimatur,  and  it 
would  be  more  easy,  at  this  time,  to  force  into  circulation  the  treasu- 
ry notes,  than  opinions  militating  against  the  administration,  through 
the  press  in  Virginia.  We  were  indeed  beginning  to  open  our  eyes 
in  spite  of  the  opiate  with  which  we  were  drugged  by  the  newspa- 
pers, and  the  busy  hum  of  the  insects  that  bask  in  the  sunshine  of 
court  patronage,  when  certain  events  occurred,  the  most  favorable 
that  could  have  happened  for  our  rulers ;  whose  "  luck,"  verifying 
the  proverb,  is  in  the  inverse  ratio  of  their  wisdom  ;  or,  perhaps  I 
ought  to  say,  who  have  the  cunning  to  take  advantage  of  glaring  acts 
of  indiscretion,  in  their  adversaries  at  home  and  abroad,  as  these 
may  affect  the  public  mind ;  and  such  have  never  failed  to  come  to 
their  relief,  when  otherwise  their  case  would  have  been  hopeless.  I 
give  you  the  most  serious  assurance,  that  nothing  less  than  the 
shameful  conduct  of  the  enemy  and  the  complexion  of  certain  occur- 
rences to  the  eastward  could  have  sustained  Mr.  Madison  after  the 
disgraceful  affair  at  Washington.  The  public  indignation  would 
have  overwhelmed,  in  one  common  ruin,  himself  and  his  hireling 
newspapers.  The  artillery  of  the  press,  so  long  the  instrument  of 
our  subjugation,  would,  as  at  Paris,  have  been  turned  against  the  de- 
stroyer of  his  country :  when  we  are  told  that  old  England  says  he 
••shall,"  and  New  England  that  he  "must,"  retire  from  office,  as  the 


54  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

price  of  peace  with  the  one,  and  of  union  with  the  other,  we  have 
too  much  English  blood  in  our  veins  to  submit  to  this  dictation,  or  to 
any  thing  in  the  form  of  a  threat.  Neither  of  these  people  know 
any  thing  of  us.  The  ignorance  of  her  foreign  agents,  not  only  of 
the  country  to  which  they  are  sent,  but  even  of  their  own,  has  ex- 
posed England  to  general  derision.  She  will  learn,  when  it  is  too 
late,  that  we  are  a  high-minded  people,  attached  to  our  liberty  and 
our  country,  because  it  is  free,  in  a  degree  inferior  to  no  people  un- 
der the  sun.  She  will  discover  that  "  our  trade  would  have  been 
worth  more  than  our  spoil,"  and  that  she  has  made  deadly  enemies 
of  a  whole  people,  who,  in  spite  of  her  and  of  the  world,  of  the  sneers 
of  her  sophists,  or  of  the  force  of  her  arms,  are  destined  to  become, 
within  the  present  session,  a  mighty  nation.  It  belongs  to  New 
England  to  say,  whether  she  will  constitute  a  portion,  an  important 
and  highly  respectable  portion  of  this  nation,  or  whether  she  will 
dwindle  into  that  state  of  insignificant,  nominal  independence,  which 
is  the  precarious  curse  of  the  minor  kingdoms  of  Europe.  A  sepa- 
ration made  in  the  fulness  of  time,  the  effect  of  amicable  arrange- 
ments, may  prove  mutually  beneficial  to  both  parties  :  such  would 
have  been  the  effect  of  American  independence,  if  the  British  min- 
istry could  have  listened  to  any  suggestion  but  that  of  their  own  im- 
potent rage  :  but  a  settled  hostility  embittered  by  the  keenest  recol- 
lections, must  be  the  result  of  a  disunion  between  you  and  us,  under 
the  present  circumstances.  I  have  sometimes  wished  that  Mr.  Madi- 
son (who  endeavored  to  thwart  the  wise  and  benevolent  policy  of 
General  Washington  "  to  regard  the  English  like  other  nations,  as 
enemies  in  war,  in  peace  friends,")  had  succeeded  in  embroiling  us 
with  the  Court  of  St.  James,  twenty  years  sooner.  We  should  in 
that  case,  have  had  the  father  of  his  country  to  conduct  the  war  and 
to  make  the  peace  ;  and  that  peace  would  have  endured  beyond  the  life- 
time of  the  authors  of  their  country's  calamity  and  disgrace.  But  I 
must  leave  past  recollections.  The  present  and  the  immediate  future 
claim  our  attention. 

It  may  be  said,  that  in  time  of  peace,  the  people  of  every  portion 
of  our  confederacy  find  themselves  too  happy  to  think  of  division : 
that  the  sufferings  of  a  war,  like  this,  are  recmisite,  to  rouse  them  to 
the  necessary  exertion  :  war  is  incident  to  all  governments  ;  and 
wars  I  very  much  fear  will  be  wickedly  declared,  and  weakly  waged, 
even  by  the  New  England  confederacy,  as  they  have  been  by  every 
government  (not  even  excepting  the  Roman  republic),  of  which  we 
have  any  knowledge  ;  and  it  does  appear  to  me  no  slight  presump- 
tion that  the  evil  has  not  yet  reached  the  point  of  amputation,  when 
peace  alone  will  render  us  the  happiest  (as  we  are  the  freest)  people 
under  the  sun  ;  at  least  too  happy  to  think  of  dissolving  the  Union, 
which,  as  it  carried  us  through  the  war  of  our  revolution,  will,  I 


NEW  ENGLAND.  55 

trust,  bear  us  triumphant  through  that  in  which  we  have  been 
plunged,  by  the  incapacity  and  corruption  of  men,  neither  willing  to 
maintain  the  relations  of  peace,  nor  able  to  conduct  the  operations  of 
war.  Should  I,  unhappily,  be  mistaken  in  this  expectation,  let  us  see 
what  are  to  be  the  consequences  of  the  separation,  not  to  us,  but  to 
yourselves.  An  exclusion  of  your  tonnage  and  manufactures  from 
our  ports  and  harbors.  It  will  be  our  policy  to  encourage  our  own, 
or  even  those  of  Europe  in  preference  to  yours  ;  a  policy  more  ob- 
vious than  that  which  induced  us  of  the  South,  to  consent  to  dis- 
criminating duties  in  favor  of  American  tonnage,  in  the  infancy  of 
this  government.  It  is  unnecessary  to  say,  to  you,  that  I  embrace 
the  duties  on  imports,  as  well  as  the  tonnage  duty,  when  I  allude  to 
the  encouragement  of  American  shipping.  It  will  always  be  our 
policy  to  prevent  your  obtaining  a  naval  superiority,  and  conse- 
quently to  cut  you  off  entirely  from  our  carrying  trade.  The  same 
plain  interest  will  cause  us  to  prefer  any  manufactures  to  your  own. 
The  intercourse  with  the  rest  of  the  world,  that  exchanges  our  sur- 
plus for  theirs,  will  be  the  nursery  of  our  seamen.  In  the  middle 
States  you  will  find  rivals,  not  very  heartily  indisposed  to  shut  out 
the  competition  of  your  shipping.  In  the  same  section  of  country 
and  in  the  boundless  West,  you  will  find  jealous  competitors  of  your 
mechanics — you  will  be  left  to  settle,  as  you  can,  with  England,  the 
question  of  boundary  on  the  side  of  New  Brunswick,  and  unless  you 
can  bring  New-York  to  a  state  of  utter  blindness,  as  to  her  own  in- 
terests, that  great,  thriving,  and  most  populous  member  of  the  south- 
ern confederacy  will  present  a  hostile  frontier  to  the  only  States  of 
the  union  of  Hartford,  that  can  be  estimated  as  of  any  efficiency. 
Should  that  respectable  city  be  chosen  as  the  seat  of  the  Eastern 
Congress,  that  body  will  sit  within  two  days'  march  of  the  most  pop- 
ulous county  of  New- York  (Duchess),  of  itself  almost  equal  to  some 
of  the  New  England  States.  I  speak  not  in  derision,  but  in  sober- 
ness and  sadness  of  heart.  Rather  let  me  say,  that  like  a  thorough- 
bred diplomatist,  I  try  to  suppress  every  thing  like  feeling,  and  treat 
this  question  as  a  dry  matter  of  calculation  ;  well  knowing,  at  the 
same  time,  that  in  this,  as  in  every  question  of  vital  interest,  "  our 
passions  instruct  our  reason."  The  same  high  authority  has  told  us 
that  jacobinism  is  of  no  country,  that  it  is  a  sect  found  in  all.  Now, 
as  our  jacobins  in  Virginia  would  be  very  glad  to  hear  of  the  bom- 
bardment of  Boston,  so,  I  very  much  fear,  your  jacobins  would  not 
be  very  sorry  to  hear  of  a  servile  insurrection  in  Virginia.  But  such 
I  trust  is  the  general  feeling  in  neither  country,  otherwise  I  should 
at  once  agree  that  union,  like  the  marriages  of  Mezentius,  was  the 
worst  that  could  befall  us.  For,  with  every  other  man  of  common 
sense,  I  have  always  regarded  union  as  the  means  of  liberty  and 
safety ;   in  other  words   of  happiness,  and  not  as  an   end,  to  which 


56  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

these  are  to  be  sacrificed.  Neither,  at  the  same  time,  are  means  so 
precious,  so  efficient  (in  proper  hands)  of  these  desirable  objects,  to 
be  thrown,  rashly  aside,  because,  in  the  hands  of  bad  men,  they  have 
been  made  the  instrument  almost  of  our  undoing. 

You  in  New  England  (it  is  unnecessary  I  hope  to  specify  when  I 
do  not  address  myself  personally  to  yourself)  are  very  wide  of  the 
mark,  if  you  suppose  we  to  the  south  do  not  suffer  at  least  as  much 
as  yourselves,  from  the  incapacity  of  our  rulers  to  conduct  the  de- 
fence of  the  country.     Do  you  ask  why  we  do  not  change  those  ru- 
lers ?     I  reply,  because  we  are  a  people,  like  your  own   Connecticut, 
of  steady  habits.     Our  confidence  once  given  is  not  hastily  with- 
drawn.    Let  those  who  will,  abuse  the  fickleness  of  the  people  ;  I 
shall  say  such  is  not  the  character  of  the  people  of  Virginia.     They 
may  be  deceived,  but  they  are  honest.     Taking  advantage  of  their 
honest  prejudices,  the  growth  of  our  revolution,  fostered  not  more 
by  Mr.    Jefferson   than    by  the  injuries   and  (what  is  harder  to  be 
borne)  the  insults  of  the  British  ministry  since  the  peace  of  1783,  a 
combination  of  artful  men.  has,  with  the  aid   of  the  press,  and  the 
possession  of  the  machinery  of  government  (a  powerful  engine  in  any 
hands)  led  them  to  the  brink  of  ruin.     I  can  never  bring  myself  to 
believe,  that  the  whole  mass  of  the  landed  proprietors  in  any  coun- 
try, but  especially  such  a  country  as  Virginia,  can   seriously  plot  its 
ruin.      Our  government  is  in   the  hands   of  the  landed  proprietors 
only.     The  very  men  of  whom  you  complain,  have  left  nothing  un- 
done that  they  dared  to  do,  in  order  to  destroy  it.     Foreign  influence 
is  unknown  among  us.     What  we  feel  of  it  is  through  the  medium  of 
the   General  Government,  which  acted  on,  itself,  by  foreign  renega- 
does,  serves  as  a  conductor,  between  them  and  us,  of  this  pernicious 
influence.     I  know  of  no  foreigner  who  has  been,  or  is,  in  any  re- 
spectable office  in   the  gift  of  the  people,  or  in  the  government  of 
Virginia,      No   member  of   either   House  of  Congress,  no  leading 
member  of  our  Assembly,  no  judge  of  our  Supreme  Courts  :  of  the 
newspapers  printed  in  the   State,  as  far   as   my  knowledge   extends, 
without  discrimination  of  party,  they  are  conducted  by  native  Vir- 
ginians.    Like  yourselves,  we  are  an  unmixed  people.     I  know  the 
prejudice  that  exists  against  us,  nor  do  I  wonder  at  it,  considering 
the  gross  ignorance  on  the  subject  that  prevails  north  of  Maryland, 
and  even  in  many  parts  of  that  neighboring  State. 

What  member  of  the  confederacy  has  sacrificed  more  on  the  altar 
of  public  good  than  Virginia?  Whence  did  the  General  Govern- 
ment derive  its  lands  beyond  the  Ohio,  then  and  now  almost  the  only 
source  of  revenue?  From  our  grant, — a  grant  so  curiously  worded, 
and,by  our  present  Palinurus  too,  as  to  except  ourselves,  by  its  lim- 
itations, from  the  common  benefit. 

By  its  conditions  it  was  forbidden  ground  to  us,  and  thereby  the 


NEW  ENGLAND.  57 

foundation  was  laid  of  incurable  animosity  and  division  between  the 
States  on  each  side  of  that  great  natural  boundary,  the  river  Ohio. 
Not  only  their  masters,  but  the  very  slaves  themselves,  for  whose 
benefit  this  regulation  was  made,  were  sacrificed  by  it.  Dispersion  is 
to  them  a  bettering  of  their  present  condition,  and  of  their  chance 
for  emancipation.  It  is  only  when  this  can  be  done  without  danger 
and  without  ruinous  individual  loss  that  it  will  be  done  at  all.  But 
what  is  common  sense  to  a  political  Quixote  1 

That  country  was  ours  by  a  double  title,  by  charter  and  by  con- 
quest. George  Rogers  Clark,  the  American  Hannibal,  at  the  head 
of  the  State  troops,  by  the  reduction  of  Post  Vincennes,  obtained 
the  lakes  for  our  northern  boundary  at  the  peace  of  Paris.  The 
march  of  that  great  man  and  his  brave  companions  in  arms  across 
the  drowned  lands  of  the  "Wabash,  does  not  shrink  from  a  compari- 
son with  the  passage  of  the  Thrasimene  marsh.  Without  meaning 
any  thing  like  an  invidious  distinction,  I  have  not  heard  of  any  ces- 
sion from  Massachusetts  of  her  vast  wilds  ;  and  Connecticut  has  had 
the  address,  out  of  our  grant  to  the  firm,  to  obtain,  on  her  own  pri- 
vate account,  some  millions  of  acres  :  whilst  we,  yes  we,  I  blush  to 
say  it,  have  descended  to  beg  for  a  pittance,  out  of  the  property  once 
our  own,  for  the  brave  men  by  whose  valor  it  had  been  won,  and 
whom  heedless  profusion  had  disabled  us  to  recompense.  We  met 
the  just  fate  of  the  prodigal.  We  were  spurned  from  the  door, 
where  once  we  were  master,  with  derision  and  scorn  ;  and  yet  we 
hear  of  undue  Virginian  influence.  This  fund  yielded  the  Gov- 
ernment, when  I  had  connection  with  it.  from  half  a  million  to  eight 
hundred  thousand  dollars,  annually.  It  would  have  preserved  us 
from  the  imposition  of  State  taxes,  founded  schools,  built  bridges 
and  made  roads  and  canals  throughout  Virginia.  It  was  squandered 
away  in  a  single  donative  at  the  instance  of  Mr.  Madison.  For  the 
sake  of  concord  with  our  neighbors,  by  the  same  generous  but  mis- 
guided policy,  we  ceded  to  Pennsylvania  Fort  Pitt,  a  most  important 
commercial  and  military  position,  and  a  vast  domain  around  it,  as 
much  Virginia  as  the  city  of  Richmond  and  the  county  of  Henrico. 
To  Kentucky,  the  eldest  daughter  of  the  Union,  the  Virginia  of  the 
west,  we  have  yielded  on  a  question  of  boundary,  from  a  similar  con- 
sideration. Actuated  by  the  same  magnanimous  spirit  at  the  in- 
stance of  other  States  (with  the  exception  of  New-York,  North  Ca- 
rolina, and  Rhode  Island),  we  accepted,  in  1783,  the  present  Consti- 
tution. It  was  repugnant  to  our  judgment,  and  fraught,  as  we  feared, 
with  danger  to  our  liberties.  The  awful  voice  of  our  ablest  and 
soundest  statesmen,  of  Patrick  Henry,  and  of  George  Mason,  never 
before  or  since  disregarded,  warned  us  of  the  consequences.  Neither 
was  their  counsel  entirely  unheeded,  for  it  led  to  important  subse- 
quent amendments  of  that  instrument.     I  have  always  believed  this 

vol.  11.  3* 


58  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

disinterested  spirit,  so  often  manifested  by  us,  to  be  one  of  tbe  chief 
causes  of  tbe  influence  which  we  have  exercised  over  the  other  States. 
Eight  States  having  made  that  Constitution  their  own,  we  submitted 
to  the  yoke  for  the  sake  of  union.  Our  attachment  to  the  Union  is 
not  an  empty  profession.  It  is  demonstrated  by  our  practice  at  home. 
No  sooner  was  the  Convention  of  1788  dissolved,  than  the  feuds  of 
federalism  and  anti-federalism  disappeared.  I  speak  of  their  effects 
on  our  councils.  For  the  sake  of  union,  we  submitted  to  the  low- 
est state  of  degradation ;  the  administration  of  John  Adams.  The 
name  of  this  man  calls  up  contempt  and  derision,  wheresoever  it  is 
pronounced.  To  the  fantastic  vanity  of  this  political  Malvolio  may 
be  distinctly  traced  our  present  unhappy  condition.  I  will  not  be  so 
ungenerous  as  to  remind  you  that  this  personage  (of  whom  and  his 
addresses,  and  his  answers.  I  defy  3-ou  to  think  without  a  bitter 
smile)  was  not  a  Virginian,  but  I  must  in  justice  to  ourselves,  insist 
in  making  him  a  set-off  against  Mr.  Madison.  They  are  of  such  equal 
weight,  that  the  trembling  balance  reminds  us  of  that  passage  of 
Pope,  where  Jove  "  weighs  the  beau's  wits  agains  the  lady's  hair. 

'■The  doubtful  beam  long  nods  from  side  to  side, 
At  length  the  wits  mount  up.  the  hairs  subside." 

Intoxicated  not  more  by  the  fulsome  adulation  with  which  he  was 
plied,  than  by  the  fumes  of  his  own  vanity,  this  poor  old  gentle- 
man saw  a  visionary  coronet  suspended  over  his  brow,  and  an  air- 
drawn  sceptre  '•  the  handle  towards  his  hand,"  which  attempting  to 
clutch,  he  lost  his  balance,  and  disappeared  never  to  rise  again.  He 
it  was.  who  "  enacting"  Nat.  Lee's  Alexander,  raved  about  the  peo- 
ple of  Virginia  as  ':  a  faction  to  be  humbled  in  dust  and  ashes," 
when  the  sackcloth  already  was  prepared  for  his  own  back. 

But  I  am  spinning  out  this  letter  to  too  great  a  length.  What  is 
your  object — Peace?  Can  this  be  attained  on  any  terms,  whilst 
England  sees  a  prospect  of  disuniting  that  confederacy,  which  has 
already  given  so  deep  a  blow  to  her  maritime  pride,  and  threatens  at 
no  very  distant  day  to  dispute  with  her  the  empire  of  the  ocean  % 
The  wound  which  our  gallant  tars  have  inflicted  on  her  tenderest 
point,  has  maddened  her  to  rage.  Cursed  as  we  are  with  a  weak  and 
wicked  administration,  she  can  no  longer  despise  us.  Already  she 
begins  to  hate  us  :  and  she  seeks  to  glut  a  revenge  as  impotent  as  it 
is  rancorous,  by  inroads  that  would  have  disgraced  the  buccaneers, 
and  bulletins  that  would  only  not  disgrace  the  sovereign  of  Elba. 
She  already  is  compelled  to  confess  in  her  heart,  what  her  lips  deny, 
that  if  English  bull-dogs  and  game-cocks  degenerate  on  our  soil,  Eng- 
lish men  do  not : — and  should  (which  God  forbid)  our  brethren  of  the 
East  desert  us  in  this  contest  for  all  that  is  precious  to  man,  we  will 
maintain  it.  so  long  as  our  proud  and  insulting  foe  shall  refuse  to  ac- 
cede to  equitable  terms  of  peace.     The  G-overnment  will  then  pass 


NEW  ENGLAND.  59 

into  proper  hands — the  talents  of  the  country  will  be  called  forth,  and 
the  schemes  of  moon-struck  philosophers  and  their  disciples  pass  away 
and  "  leave  not  a  rack  behind." 

You  know  how  steady  and  persevering  I  endeavored,  for  eight 
years,  to  counteract  the  artful  and  insidious  plans  of  our  rulers  to 
embroil  us  with  the  country  of  our  ancestors,  and  the  odium  which  I 
have  thereby  drawn  upon   myself.     Believing  it  to    be  my  duty  to 
soften,  as  much  as  possible,  the  asperities  which  subsisted  between  the 
two  countries,  and  which  were  leading  to  a  ruinous  war,  I  put  to  ha- 
zard, nay,  exposed  to  almost  certain  destruction,  an  influence  such  as 
no  man,  perhaps,  in  this  country,  at  the  same  age,  had  ever  before  at- 
tained.    (The  popularity  that  dreads  exposure  is  too  delicate  for  pub- 
lic service.  It  is  a  bastard  species :  the  true  sort  will  stand  the  hard- 
est frosts.     Is  it  my  fault  (as  Mr.   Burke  complained  of  the  crowned 
heads  of  Europe)  that  England  will  no  longer  suffer  me  to  find  pal- 
liatives for  her  conduct  1     No  man  admired  more  than  I  did  her 
magnanimous  stand  against  the  tyrant,  before  whom  all  the  rest  of 
Christendom  at  one  time  bowed  :  No  man,  not  even  her  own  Wttber- 
force  and  Perceval,  put  up  more  sincere  prayers  for  her  deliverance. 
In  the  remotest  isle  of  Australasia,  my  sympathy  would  have  been 
enlisted,  in  such  a  contest,  for  the  descendants  of  Alfred  and  Bacon, 
and  Shakspeare,  and  Milton,  and  Locke,  on  whom  I  love  to  look 
back  as  my  illustrious  countrymen — in  any  contest  I  should  have 
taken  side  with  liberty ;  but  on  this  depended  (as  I  believed  and  do 
still  believe)  all  that  made  my  own  country  dear  in  my  sight.     It  is 
past — and  unmindful  of  the  mercy  of  that  protecting  Providence 
which  has  carried  her  through  the  valley  of  the  shadow  of  death, 
England  "  feels  power  and  forgets  right."    I  am  not  one  of  the  whin- 
ing set  of  people  who  cry  out  against  mine  adversary  for  the  force  of 
his  blow.     England  has,  unquestionably,  as  good  a  right  to  conquer 
us,  as  we  have  to  conquer  Canada  ;  the  same  right  that  we  have  to 
conquer  England,  and  with  about  as  good  prospect  of  success.     But 
let  not  her  orators  declaim  against  the  enormity  of  French  prin- 
ciples, when  she  permits  herself  to  arm  and  discipline  our  slaves,  and 
to  lead  them  into  the  field  against  their  masters,  in  the  hope  of  excit- 
ing by  the  example  a  general  insurrection,  and  thus  render  Virginia 
another  St.  Domingo.     And  does  she  talk  of  jacobinism  !     What  is 
this  but  jacobinism  ?  and   of  the  vilest  stamp  1     Is  this  the  country 
that  has  abolished  the  slave  trade  1  that  has  made  that  infamous,  in- 
human traffic  a  felony?  that  feeds  with  the  bread  of  life  all  who  hun- 
ger after  it,  and  even  those  who,  but  for  her,  would  never  have  known 
their  perishing  condition  ?    Drunk  with  the  cup  of  the  abominations 
of  Moloch,  they  have  been  roused  from  the  sleep  of  death,  like  some 
benighted  traveller  perishing  in  the  snows,  and  warmed  into  life  by 
the  beams  of  the  only  true  religion.     Is  this  the  country  of  Wilber- 


60  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

force  and  Howard  ?  It  is ; — but,  like  my  own,  my  native  land,  it 
has  fallen  into  the  hands  of  evil  men,  who  pour  out  its  treasure  and 
its  blood  at  the  shrine  of  their  own  guilty  ambition.  And  this  im- 
pious sacrifice  they  celebrate  amidst  the  applauses  of  the  deluded 
people,  and  even  of  the  victims  themselves. 

There  is  a  proneness  in  mankind  to  throw  the  blame  of  their 
sufferings  on  any  one  but  themselves.  In  this  manner,  Virginia  is 
regarded  by  some  of  her  sister  States  ;  not  adverting  to  the  fact,  that 
all  (Connecticut  and  Delaware  excepted)  are  responsible  for  the 
measures  that  have  involved  us  in  our  present  difficulties.  Did  we 
partition  your  State  into  those  unequal  and  monstrous  districts  which 
have  given  birth  to  a  new  word  in  your  language,  of  uncouth  sound, 
calling  up  the  most  odious  associations.  Did  we  elect  the  jacobins 
whom  you  sent  to  both  Houses  of  Congress — the  Bidwells,  and  G-an- 
netts,  and  Skinners. — to  spur  on  the  more  moderate  men  from  Vir- 
ginia to  excesses  which  they  reluctantly  gave  into  at  the  time,  and 
have  since  been  ashamed  of?  Who  hurried  the  bill  suspending  the 
privilege  of  the  writ  of  habeas  corpus  through  a  trembling  servile 
Senate,  in  consequence,  as  he  did  not  blush  to  state,  of  a  verbal  com- 
munication from  the  President?  A  Senator  from  Massachusetts, 
and  professor  in  her  venerable  university.  In  short,  have  not  your 
first  statesmen  (such  I  believe  was  the  reputation  of  the  gentleman  in 
question  at  the  time),  your  richest  merchants,  and  the  majority  of 
your  delegation  in  Congress  vied  in  support  of  the  men  and  the  mea- 
sures that  have  led  to  our  present  suffering  and  humiliated  condition  ? 

If  you  wished  to  separate  yourselves  from  us,  you  had  ample  pro- 
vocation in  time  of  peace,  in  an  embargo  the  most  unconstitutional 
and  oppressive ;  an  engine  of  tyranny,  fraud,  and  favoritism.  Then 
was  the  time  to  resist  (we  did  not  desert  England  in  a  time  of  war), 
but  you  were  then  under  the  dominion  of  a  faction  among  yourselves, 
yet  a  formidable  minority,  exhibiting  no  signs  of  diminution ;  and  it 
is  not  the  least  of  my  apprehensions,  from  certain  proceedings  to  the 
eastward,  that  they  may  be  made  the  means  of  consigning  you  again, 
and  for  ever,  to  the  same  low,  insolent  domination.  The  reaction  of 
your  jacobins  upon  us  (for  although  we  have  some  in  Virginia,  they 
are  few  and  insignificant)  through  the  men  at  Washington,  ("  who 
must  conciliate  good  republicans,")  is  dreadful.  Pause,  I  beseech 
you,  pause  !  You  tread  on  the  brink  of  destruction.  Of  all  the  At- 
lantic States  you  have  the  least  cause  to  complain.  Your  manufac- 
tures, and  the  trade  which  the  enemy  has  allowed  you,  have  drained 
us  of  our  last  dollar.  How  then  can  we  carry  on  the  war  ?  With 
men  and  steel — stout  hearts,  and  willing  hands — and  these  from  the 
days  of  Darius  and  Xerxes,  in  defence  of  the  household  gods  of  free 
dom,  have  proved  a  match  for  gold.  Can  they  not  now  encounter 
paper  ?     We  shall  suffer  much  from  this  contest,  it  will  cut  deep  ; 


NEW  ENGLAND.  61 

but  dismissing  its  authors  from  our  confidence  and  councils  for  ever, 
(I  s.peak  of  a  few  leaders  and  their  immediate  tools,  not  of  the  delud- 
ed, as  well  in  as  out  of  authority.)  we  shall  pass,  if  it  be  the  good 
pleasure  of  Him  whose  curses  are  tempered  with  mercies,  through  an 
agony  and  a  bloody  sweat,  to  peace  and  salvation ;  to  that  peace 
which  is  only  to  be  found  in  a  reconciliation  with  Him.  "  Atheists 
and  madmen  have  been  our  lawgivers,"  and  when  I  think  on  our  past 
conduct  I  shudder  at  the  chastisement  that  may  await  us.  How  has 
not  Europe  suffered  for  her  sins  !  Will  England  not  consider,  that, 
like  the  man  who  but  yesterday  bestrode  the  narrow  world,  she  is 
but  an  instrument  in  his  hands,  who  breaketh  the  weapons  of  his 
chastisement,  when  the  measure  of  his  people's  punishment  is  full  ? 

When  I  exhort  to  further  patience — to  resort  to  constitutional 
means  of  redress  only,  I  know  that  there  is  such  a  thing  as  tyranny 
as  well  as  oppression  ;  and  that  there  is  no  government,  however  re- 
stricted in  its  power,  that  may  not,  by  abuse,  under  pretext  of  exer- 
cise of  its  constitutional  authority,  drive  its  unhappy  subjects  to  des- 
peration. Our  situation  is  indeed  awful.  The  members  of  the  Union 
in  juxtaposition — held  together  by  no  common  authority  to  which 
men  can  look  up  with  confidence  and  respect.  Smitten  by  the  charms 
of  Upper  Canada,  our  President  has  abandoned  the  several  States  to 
shift  for  themselves  as  they  can. — Congress  is  felo  de  se.  In  practice 
there  is  found  little  difference  between  a  government  of  requisitions 
on  the  States,  which  these  disregard,  or  a  government  of  requisitions 
on  the  people,  which  the  governors  are  afraid  to  make  until  the  pub- 
lic faith  is  irretrievably  ruined.  Congress  seemed  barred  by  their 
own  favorite  act  of  limitations,  from  raising  supplies  ;  prescription 
runs  against  them.  But  let  us  not  despair  of  the  commonwealth. 
Some  master-spirit  may  be  kindled  by  the  collision  of  the  times,  who 
will  breathe  his  own  soul  into  the  councils  and  armies  of  the  repub- 
lic ;  and  here  indeed  is  our  chiefest  danger.  The  man  who  is  credu- 
lous enough  to  believe  that  a  constitution,  with  the  skeleton  of  an  es- 
tablishment of  10,000  men,  not  2,000  strong,  (such  was  our  army 
three  years  ago.)  is  the  same  as  with  an  army  of  60,000  men,  may  be 
a  very  amiable  neighbor,  but  is  utterly  unfit  for  a  statesman.  Al- 
ready our  government  is  in  fact  changed.  We  are  become  a  mili- 
tary people,  of  whom  more  than  of  any  other  it  might  have  been  said 
fortunatos  sua  si  bona  norint.  If  under  such  circumstances  you  ask 
me  what  you  are  to  do,  should  a  conscription  of  the  model  of  Bona- 
parte be  attempted?  I  will  refer  you  to  its  reputed  projector,  Co- 
lonel Monroe.  Ask  him  what  he  would  have  done,  whilst  governor 
of  Virginia,  and  preparing  to  resist  Federal  usurpation,  had  such  an 
attempt  been  made  by  Mr.  Adams  and  his  ministers  ;  especially  in 
1  800      He  can  give  the  answer. 

But  when  you  complain  of  the  representation   of  three-fifths  of 


62  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

our  slaves,  I  reply  that  it  is  one  of  the  articles  of  that  compact, 
which  you  submitted  to  us  for  acceptance,  and  to  which  we  reluc- 
tantly acceded.  Our  Constitution  is  an  affair  of  compromise  between 
the  States,  and  this  is  the  master-key  which  unlocks  all  its  difficul- 
ties. If  any  of  the  parties  to  the  compact  are  dissatisfied  with  their 
share  of  influence,  it  is  an  affair  of  amicable  discussion,  in  the  mode 
pointed  out  by  the  constitution  itself,  but  no  cause  for  dissolving  the 
confederacy.  And  when  I  read  and  hear  the  vile  stuff  against  my 
country  printed  and  uttered  on  this  subject,  by  fire-brands,  who 
ought  to  be  quenched  for  ever,  I  would  remind,  not  these  editors 
of  journals  and  declaimers  at  clubs,  but  their  deluded  followers, 
that  every  word  of  these  libels  on  the  planters  of  Virginia,  is  as  ap- 
plicable to  the  father  of  his  country  as  to  any  one  among  us  ;  that  in 
the  same  sense  we  are  "slaveholders,"  and  "negro  drivers,"  and 
"  dealers  in  human  flesh,"  (I  must  be  pardoned  for  culling  a  few 
of  their  rhetorical  flowers,)  so  was  hey  aud  whilst  they  upbraid  Vir- 
ginia with  her  Jeffersons  and  her  Madisons,  they  will  not  always  re- 
member to  forget  that  to  Virginia  they  were  indebted  for  a  Wash- 
ington. 

I  am,  with  the  highest  respect  and  regard,  dear  sir,  your  obe- 
dient servant, 

John  Randolph  of  Roanoke. 


CHAPTER    V. 

•  RELIGION. 

The  reader  is  already  aware,  from  many  expressions  let  fall  from  the 
pen  of  Mr.  Randolph,  that  he  is  deeply  engaged  in  the  great  subject 
of  religion ;  his  necessary  duties  give  way,  and  are  postponed  to  this 
all-engrossing  question. 

In  childhood  and  early  youth,  he  was  trained  by  a  devoted  and 
pious  mother,  in  the  doctrines  and  the  practices  of  the  Christian 
church.  The  impressions  of  those  early  lessons,  though  a  long  time 
disregarded,  were  never  entirely  effaced  from  his  memory ;  and  the 
hallowed  associations  that  clustered  around  the  name  of  his  adored 
and  sainted  mother,  the  fond  remembrances  of  childhood  and  inno- 
cence, never  failed  to  awaken  the  deepest  emotions  in  his  affectionate 
and  sympathetic  heart.     Yet  he  lived  for  many  years  in  open  derision 


RELIGION.  63 

and  mockery  of  that  religion  whose  holy  and  divine  precepts  he  could 
not  efface  from  his  mind.  Coming  into  life  at  an  epoch  when  French 
philosophy  had  not  only  overturned  the  monarchies  of  Europe,  but 
had  undermined  and  destroyed  the  foundation  of  all  morals  and  reli- 
gion, his  ardent  soul,  like  thousands  of  the  best  spirits  of  the  age, 
caught  the  contagion  of  its  influence,  threw  off  all  religious  restraint, 
as  the  highest  proof  of  freedom,  and  became,  if  not  a  mocker,  at 
least  a  cold  despiser  of  the  religion  of  humility  and  self-sacrifice. 
But  the  despotism  under  which  France  had  been  made  to  groan,  in 
consequence  of  her  atheistic  madness  ;  the  desolation  that  had  swept 
over  Europe  ;  the  deep  calamities  brought  on  his  own  country  by  war 
and  restrictions ;  the  many  misfortunes  and  afflictions  that  in  thick 
succession  had  befallen  himself  and  his  ill-fated  family ;  his  entira 
separation  from  all  political  associations  and  party  excitements,  and 
the  profound  solitude,  for  the  most  part,  in  which  he  lived,  all  con- 
spired to  bring  back  his  mind  to  its  early  associations.  As  "  the 
stricken  deer,"  to  which  he  likened  himself,  faint,  and  panting  in  the 
hot  chase,  seeks  the  fresh  fountains  and  cooling  shades  of  its  native 
valley,  so  he,  faint  and  heart-stricken  at  the  desolations  of  an  irre- 
ligious age.  and  athirst  for  the  pure  waters  of  life,  sought  consolation 
in  that  religion  which  his  mother,  on  bended  knee,  with  his  little 
hands  in  hers  uplifted  to  heaven,  had  taught  him  in  his  infancy. 

He  read  the  Old  and  New  Testament,  with  the  aid  of  good  com- 
mentators, with  care  and  diligence.  The  best  authors  were  at  his 
command — "  old  standard  authors"  constituted  his  daily  food,  though 
sometimes,  in  humility,  he  would  complain  that  they  were  "  too  solid 
for  his  weak  stomach."  It  is  a  great  mistake  to  take  Mr.  Randolph 
at  his  word,  and  suppose  him  to  be  an  ignorant  man.  "  I  am  an  ig- 
norant man.  I  am  an  ignorant  man,"  is  the  mortifying  yet  too  deeply 
conscious  sentiment  of  every  man  of  an  all-grasping  genius  like  his ; 
but  no  man  was  more  thoroughly  imbued  than  he  with  the  rich  lore 
of  old  English  learning,  or  more  deeply  penetrated  with  the  manly 
and  martyr-like  spirit  of  that  religion  which  triumphed  over  the  fag- 
got and  the  dungeon.  Being  a  man  of  the  highest  order  of  poetic 
genius  himself,  he  sought  only  the  society  o*  kindred  spirits.  Milton 
and  Cowper,  and  the  old  English  divines,  now  obsolete  and  forgotten, 
were  his  daily  and  nightly  companions.  He  was  also  most  fortunate 
in  his  living  associates.     No  man  had  better  or  more  faithful  friends. 


64  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

His  country  or  age  can  furnish  no  nobler  specimens  of  a  high  Chris- 
tian virtue  than  the  three  friends  with  whom  Mr.  Randolph  alone 
conversed  on  "  free-will,  fate  and  philosophy,"  and  to  whose  opinions 
he  bowed  with  the  profoundest  respect  and  reverence.  The  first  to 
whom  we  allude  is  the  present  Bishop  Meade,  of  Virginia,  a  gentle- 
man, a  scholar,  and  a  Christian.  The  reader  is  already  aware  of  the 
high  regard  Mr.  Randolph  had  for  that  pious  and  venerable  man. 
The  second  person  was  the  late  Dr.  Moses  Hogue,  president  of 
Hampden  Sydney  College.  Mr.  Randolph,  for  many  years,  lived 
in  the  immediate  neighborhood  of  the  college  ;  and  the  society  of 
its  venerable  head,  the  chief  ornament  of  the  institution,  was 
always  sought  by  him  with  avidity.  "  I  consider  Dr.  Hogue,"  says 
he,  "  as  the  ablest  and  most  interesting  speaker  that  I  ever  heard, 
in  the  pulpit  or  out  of  it ;  and  the  most  perfect  pattern  of  a  Christian 
teacher  that  I  ever  saw.  His  life  affords  an  example  of  the  great 
truths  of  the  doctrine  that  he  dispenses  to  his  flock ;  and  if  he  has  a 
fault  (which,  being  mortal,  I  suppose  he  cannot  be  free  from)  I  have 
never  heard  it  pointed  out."  Nothing  can  be  added  to  this  picture. 
Francis  Scott  Key,  Esq.,  late  of  Washington  City,  is  the  other  per- 
son to  whom  we  have  made  allusion.  The  reader  has  already  per- 
ceived the  great  intimacy  existing  between  these  two  friends.  They 
were  kindred  spirits.  "  Frank  Key,"  though  an  eminent  and  suc- 
cessful advocate,  was  a  poet  of  a  high  order  of  genius.  "  The  Star- 
spangled  Banner,"  written  while  he  was  detained'  on  board  the  Brit- 
ish fleet,  an  anxious  spectator  of  the  bombardment  of  Fort  M'Henry 
and  the  assault  on  Baltimore,  thrills  the  heart  of  every  American 
who  hears  its  patriotic  strains,  and  has  become  one  of  our  most  popu- 
lar national  songs.  He  was  a  pure  spirit ;  the  friend  that  knew  him 
best  and  valued  him  most,  thus  speaks  of  him  :  "  He  perseveres  in 
pressing  on  toward  the  goal,  and  his  whole  life  is  spent  in  endeavors 
to  do  good  for  his  unhappy  fellow-men.  The  result  is  that  he  enjoys 
a  tranquillity  of  mind,  a  sunshine  of  the  soul,  that  all  the  Alexanders 
of  the  earth  can  neither  confer  nor  take  away." 

Dr.  Brockenbrough  had  hitherto,  for  the  most  part,  been  in  the 
same  category  with  himself,  somewhat  skeptical ;  hence,  in  their  re- 
lations, Randolph  rather  assumed  the  province  of  a  teacher  than 
scholar,  on  the  subject  of  morals  and  religion.  Writing  to  that  gen- 
tleman from  Buckingham  Court  House,  the  29th  May,  1815,  he  says : 


RELIGION.  55 

"  I  got  here  to-day.  To-morrow  we  are  to  begin  our  inquisition. 
[A  contested  election.]  This  business  does  not  suit  me  at  all.  My 
thoughts  are  running  in  a  far  different  channel.  I  never  feel  so  free 
from  uneasiness  as  when  I  am  reading  the  Testament,  or  hearing 
some  able  preacher.  This  great  concern  presses  me  by  day  and  by 
night,  almost  to  the  engrossing  of  my  thoughts.  It  is  first  in  my 
mind  when  I  wake,  and  the  last  when  I  go  to  sleep.  I  think  it  be- 
comes daily  more  clear  to  me.  All  other  things  are  as  nothing  when 
put  in  comparison  with  it.  You  have  had  a  great  comfort  in  the 
presence  of  Mr.  Meade.  I.  too,  am  not  without  some  consolation : 
for  I  have  received  a  letter  from  Frank  Key,  that  I  would  not  ex- 
change for  the  largest  bundle  of  bank  notes  that  you  ever  signed. 
Hear  him.  '  I  cannot  describe  to  you  the  gratification  your  letter 
has  given  me.  The  sentiments  they  express,  I  thank  God  I  am  no 
stranger  to  ;  and  they  have  been  made  to  lead  me,  through  much 
anxiety  and  distress,  to  a  state  of  peace  and  happiness — as  far  above 
what  I  have  deserved,  as  below  what  I  yet  hope,  even  in  this  life,  to 
attain.  May  you  soon,  my  friend,  experience  the  most  delightful 
of  all  sensations,  that  springs  from  a  well  grounded  hope  of  recon- 
ciliation with  God  !  You  are  in  the  right  track.  [God  grant  it 
may  be  so  !]  God  is  leading  you.  Your  sentiments  show  the  divinity 
that  stirs  within  you.  That  we  have  ruined  ourselves — that  an  ever- 
lasting life  is  before  us — that  we  are  about  (how  soon  we  know 
not)  to  enter  upon  it,  under  the  sentence  of  Almighty  condemnation 
— and  that  we  can  do  nothing  to  save  ourselves  from  this  misery ; 
these  convictions  are  the  genuine  work  of  the  Spirit ;  other  founda- 
tion can  no  man  lay  !  They  lead  us  to  a  Saviour  who  gives  us  all  we 
want — pardon,  peace,  and  holiness.  They  do  not  bid  us  first  to  be- 
come righteous,  and  then  come  to  him ;  but  they  bring  us  to  him  as 
we  are — as  sinners  to  be  pardoned  for  our  sins,  and  cleansed  from 
all  our  iniquities.  This  is  the  true  doctrine  of  our  Church,  and  the 
plain  meaning  of  the  Gospel ;  and  indeed  it  seems  to  me,  notwith- 
standing some  peculiarities  (about  which  there  has  been  much 
useless  disputation),  that  in  these  essential  points  almost  all  sects 
agree.'  " 

Writing  to  Mr.  Key  himself,  from  the  same  place,  two  days  after 
the  above,  he  says  : 

"  I  cannot  refrain  from  unburthening  some  of  my  thoughts  to  you. 
I  carry  your  last  letter  (of  the  11th)  constantly  in  my  pocket,  read- 
ing it  frequently,  and  praying  God  that  your  charitable  anticipations 
respecting  me  may  be  realized.  After  all,  is  there  not  selfishness  at 
the  bottom  of  that  yearning  of  my  heart  to  believe  1  Can  that  faith, 
setting  aside  its  imperfection,  be  acceptable  in  the  sight  of  God,  to 


QQ  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

which  the  unhappy  sinner  is  first  moved  by  the  sense  of  self-preser- 
vation ? 

"  I  am  brought  on  here  by  this  contested  election ;  but  my  mind 
is  not  at  all  in  the  thing. 

"  Indeed  I  must  tell  you  what  gives   me  great  uneasiness  ;   that, 
instead  of  being  stimulated  to  the  discharge  of  my  duties,  I  am  daily 
becoming  more  indifferent  to  them,  and,  consequently,  more  negli- 
gent.    I  see  many  whose  minds  are  apparently  little  occupied  on  the 
subject  that  employs  me,  with  whom  I  think  I  should  be  glad  to  ex- 
change conditions  ;  for  surely,  when  they  discharge  conscientiously 
their  part  in  life,  without  the  same  high  motive  that  I  feel,  how  cul- 
pable am  I,  being  negligent !     For  a  long  time  the  thoughts  that  now 
occupy  me,  came  and  went  out  of  my  mind.     Sometimes  they  were 
banished  by  business ;    at  others,  by  pleasure.       But   heavy  afflic- 
tions fell  upon  me.     They  came  more  frequently,  and  staid  longer — 
pressing  upon  me,  until,  at  last,  I  never  went  asleep  nor  awoke  but 
they  were  last  and  first  in  my  recollection.     Oftentimes  have  they 
awakened  me,  until,  at  length,  I  cannot,  if  I  would,  detach  myself  from 
them.      Mixing  in  the  business   of  the  world  I  find  highly  injurious 
to  me.     I  cannot  repress  the  feelings  which  the  conduct  of  our  fel- 
low-men too  often  excites ;  yet  I  hate  nobody,  and  I  have  endeavored 
to  forgive  all  who  have  done  me  an  injury,  as  I  have  asked  forgiveness 
of  those  whom  I  may  have  wronged,  in  thought  or  deed.     If  I  could 
have  my  way,  I  would  retire  to  some  retreat,  far  from  the  strife  of  the 
world,  and  pass  the  remnant  of  my  days  in   meditation  and  prayer ; 
and  yet  this  would  be  a  life  of  ignoble  security.    But,  my  good  friend, 
I  am  not  qualified  (as  yet,  at  least,)  to  bear  the  heat  of  the  battle. 
I  seek  for  rest — for  peace.     I  have  read  much  of  the  New  Testament 
lately.     Some  of  the  texts  are  full  of  consolation  ;    others  inspire 
dread.     The  Epistles  of  Paul  I  cannot,  for  the  most  part,  compre- 
hend ;  with  the  assistance  of  Mr.  Locke's  paraphrase,  I  hope  to  ac- 
complish it.     My  good  friend,  you  will  bear  with  this  egotism ;   for 
I  seek  from  you  instruction  on  a  subject,  in  comparison  with  which 
all  others  sink  into  insignificance.      I  have  had  a  strong  desire  to  go 
to  the  Lord's  Supper;   but  I  was  deterred  by  a   sense  of  my  un- 
worthiness ;   and,  only  yesterday,  reading  the  denunciation   against 
those  who  received  unworthily,  I  thought  it  would  never  be  in  my 
power  to  present   myself  at  the  altar.     I   was   present  when   Mr. 
Hogue  invited  to  the  table,  and  I  would  have  given  all  I  was  worth 
to  have  been  able  to  approach  it.     There  is  no  minister  of  our  church 
in  these  parts.     I  therefore  go  to  the  Presbyterians,  who  are  the  most 
learned  and  regular  ;  but  having  been  born  in  the  Church  of  Eng- 
land, I  do  not  mean  to  renounce  it.     On  the  contrary,  I  feel  a  com- 
fort in  repeating  the  Liturgy,  that  I  would  not  be  deprived  of  for 
worlds.     Is  it  not  for  the  want  of  some  such  service  that  Socinian- 


RELIGION.  57 

ism  has  crept  into  the  eastern  congregations  ?  How  could  any  So- 
cinian  repeat  the  Apostle's  Creed,  or  read  the  Liturgy  ?  I  begin  to 
think,  with  you,  about  those  people.  You  remember  the  opinions 
you  expressed  to  me  last  winter  concerning  them.  Among  the  causes 
of  uneasiness  which  have  laid  hold  upon  me  lately,  is  a  strong  anxiety 
for  the  welfare  of  those  whom  I  love,  and  whom  I  see  walking  in 
darkness.  But  there  is  one  source  of  affliction,  the  last  and  deepest, 
which  I  must  reserve  till  we  meet,  if  I  can  prevail  upon  myself  to 
communicate  it  even  then.  It  was  laid  open  by  one  of  those  wonder- 
ful coincidences,  which  men  call  chance,  but  which  manifest  the  hand 
of  God.  It  has  lacerated  my  heart,  and  taken  from  it  its  last  hope 
in  this  world.  Ought  I  not  to  bless  God  for  the  evil  (as  it  seems  in  my 
sight)  as  well  as  the  good  ?  Is  it  not  the  greatest  of  blessings,  if  it  be 
made  the  means  of  drawing  me  unto  him  ?  Do  I  know  what  to  ask 
at  his  hands?  Is  he  not  the  judge  of  what  is  good  for  me?  If  it 
be  his  pleasure  that  I  perish,  am  I  not  conscious  that  the  sentence  is 
just? 

"  Implicitly,  then,  will  I  throw  myself  uponhis  mercy  ;  '  Not  my 
will,  but  thine  be  done  :'  '  Lord  be  merciful  to  me  a  sinner  ;'  •  Help, 
Lord,  or  I  perish.'  And  now,  my  friend,  if,  after  these  glimpses  of 
the  light,  I  should  shut  mine  eyes  and  harden  my  heart,  which  now 
is  as  melted  wax ;  if  I  should  be  enticed  back  to  the  '  herd,'  and  lose 
all  recollection  of  my  wounds,  how  much  deeper  my  guilt  than  his 
whose  heart  has  never  been  touched  by  the  sense  of  his  perishing,  un- 
done condition.  This  has  rushed  upon  my  mind  when  I  have  thought 
of  partaking  of  the  Lord's  supper.  After  binding  myself  by  that  sa- 
cred rite,  should  passion  overcome  me,  should  I  be  induced  to  forget 
in  some  unhappy  hour  that  holy  obligation,  I  shudder  to  think  of  it. 
There  are  two  ways  only  which  I  am  of  opinion  that  I  may  be  ser- 
viceable to  mankind.  One  of  these  is  teaching  children  ;  and  I  have 
some  thoughts  of  establishing  a  school.  Then,  again,  it  comes  into 
my  head  that  I  am  borne  away  by  a  transient  enthusiasm  ;  or  that  I 
may  be  reduced  to  the  condition  of  some  unhappy  fanatics  who  mis- 
take the  perversion  of  their  intellects  for  the  conversion  of  their 
hearts.     Pray  for  me." 

On  another  occasion,  writing  to  Mr.  Key,  he  says : 
"  1  took  up  yesterday  a  work,  which  I  never  met  with  before,  the 
'  Christian  Observer.'  In  a  critique  of  Scott,  vol.  XII.,  upon  the 
Bishop  of  Lincoln's  '  Refutation  of  Calvinism,'  it  is  stated  that  no  man 
is  converted  to  the  truth  of  Christianity  without  the  self-experience  of  a 
miracle.  Such  is  the  substance.  He  must  be  sensible  of  the  working 
of  a  miracle  in  his  own  person.  Now,  my  good  friend,  I  have  never 
experienced  any  thing  like  this.  I  have  been  sensible,  and  am 
always,  of  the  proneness  to  sin  in  my  nature.  I  have  grieved  un- 
feignediy  for  my  manifold  transgressions.      I   have  thrown   myself 


(38  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

upon  the  mercy  of  my  Redeemer,  conscious  of  my  own  utter  ina- 
bility to  conceive  one  good  thought,  or  do  one  good  act  without  his 
gracious  aid.  But  I  have  felt  nothing  like  what  Scott  requires. 
Indeed,  my  good  friend,  I  sometimes  dread  that  I  am  in  a  far  worse 
condition  than  those  who  never  heard  the  Word  of  God,  or,  who 
having  heard,  reject  it — if  any  condition  can  be  worse  than  the  last. 
When  I  am  with  Mr.  Hogue  I  am  at  ease.  He  makes  every  thing 
plain  to  me.  But  when  I  hear  others  I  am  disturbed.  Indeed,  my 
doubts  and  misgivings  do  not  desert  me  always  in  his  presence.  I 
wisli  I  could  see  you,  and  converse  with  you.  To  you  I  have  no 
scruple  in  writing  in  this  style  ;  but  to  any  other  I  feel  repugnant 
to  communicate.  I  fear  that  I  mistake  a  sense  of  my  sins  for  true 
repentance,  and  that  I  sometimes  presume  upon  the  mercy  of  God. 
Again,  it  appears  incredible  that  one  so  contrite  as  I  sometimes 
know  myself  to  be,  should  be  rejected  entirely  by  infinite  mercy. 
Write  to  me  upon  this  topic — not  my  own  state — but  give  me  your 
ideas  generally  on  salvation ;  or  direct  me  to  some  publication  that 
puts  it  in  the  clearest  light.  I  have  carefully  read  the  gospels,  but 
cannot  always  comprehend." 

Writing  to  Dr.  Brockenbrough,  from  Roanoke,  the  4th  of  July, 
1815,  he  says: 

"  It  was  to  me  a  subject  of  deep  regret  that  I  was  obliged  to 
leave  town  before  Mr.  Meade's  arrival.  I  promised  myself  much 
comfort  and  improvement  from  his  conversation.  My  dear  sir,  there 
is,  or  there  is  not,  another  and  a  better  world.  If  there  is,  as  we 
all  believe,  what  is  it  but  madness  to  be  absorbed  in  the  cares  of 
a  clay-built  hovel,  held  at  will,  unmindful  of  the  rich  inheritance 
of  an  imperishable  palace,  of  which  we  are  immortal  heirs  1  We  ac- 
knowledge these  things  with  our  lips,  but  not  with  our  hearts  ;  we 
lack  faith. 

"  We  would  serve  God  provided  we  may  serve  mammon  at  the 
same  time.  For  my  part,  could  I  be  brought  to  believe  that  this 
life  must  be  the  end  of  my  being,  I  should  be  disposed  to  get  rid  of 
it  as  an  incumbrance.  If  what  is  to  come  be  any  thing  like  what  is 
passed,  it  would  be  wise  to  abandon  the  hulk  to  the  underwriters,  the 
worms.  I  am  more  and  more  convinced  that,  with  a  few  exceptions, 
this  world  of  ours  is  a  vast  mad-house.  The  only  men  I  ever  knew 
well,  ever  approached  closely,  whom  I  did  not  discover  to  be  unhappy, 
are  sincere  believers  of  the  Gospel,  and  conform  their  lives,  as  far  as 
the  nature  of  man  can  permit,  to  its  precepts.  There  are  only  three 
of  them."  [Meade,  Hogue,  Key  ?]  "  And  yet,  ambition,  and  ava- 
rice, and  pleasure,  as  it  is  called,  have  their  temples  crowded  with 
votaries,  whose  own  experience  has  proved  to  them  the  insufficiency 
and  emptiness  of  their  pursuits,  and  who  obstinately  turn  away  from 


RELIGION. 


69 


the  only  waters  that  can  slake  their  dying  thirst  and  heal  their  dis- 
eases. 

"  One  word  on  the  subject  of  your  own  state  of  mind.  I  am  well 
acquainted  with  it — too  well.  Like  you,  I  have  not  reached  that 
lively  faith  which  some  more  favored  persons  enjoy.  But  I  am  per- 
suaded that  it  can  and  will  be  attained  by  all  who  are  conscious  of 
the  depravity  of  our  nature,  of  their  own  manifold  departures  from  the 
laws  of  God,  and  sins  against  their  own  conscience ;  and  who  are  sin- 
cerely desirous  to  accept  of  pardon  on  the  terms  held  out  in  the 
Gospel.  Without  puzzling  ourselves,  therefore,  with  subtle  disqui- 
sitions, let  us  ask,  are  we  conscious  of  the  necessity  of  pardon  ?  are 
we  willing  to  submit  to  the  terms  offered  to  us — to  consider  '  Chris- 
tianity as  a  scheme  imperfectly  understood,  planned  by  Infinite 
Wisdom,  and  canvassed  by  finite  comprehensions' — to  ask  of  our 
Heavenly  Father  that  faith  and  that  strength  which  by  our  own 
unassisted  efforts  we  can  never  attain?  To  me  it  would  be  a  stronger 
objection  to  Christianity  did  it  contain  nothing  which  baffled  my 
comprehension,  than  its  most  difficult  doctrines.  What  professor 
ever  delivered  a  lecture  that  his  scholars  were  not  at  a  loss  to  com- 
prehend some  parts  of  it?  But  that  is  no  objection  to  the  doctrine. 
But  the  teacher  here  is  God!  I  may  deceive  myself,  but  I  hope 
that  I  have  made  some  progress,  so  small  indeed  that  I  may  be 
ashamed  of  it,  in  this  necessary  work,  even  since  I  saw  you.  I  am 
no  disciple  of  Calvin  or  Wesley,  but  I  feel  the  necessity  of  a  changed 
nature  ;  of  a  new  life  ;  of  an  altered  heart.  I  feel  my  stubborn  and 
rebellious  nature  to  be  softened,  and  that  it  is  essential  to  my  com- 
fort here,  as  well  as  to  my  future  welfare,  to  cultivate  and  cherish 
feelings  of  good  will  towards  all  mankind ;  to  strive  against  envy, 
malice,  and  all  uncharitableness.  I  think  I  have  succeeded  in  for- 
giving all  my  enemies.  There  is  not  a  human  being  that  I  would 
hurt  if  it  were  in  my  power  ;  not  even  Bonaparte." 

Mr.  Randolph  was  now  destined  to  receive  the  severest  stroke  of 
misfortune  that  had  befallen  him  since  the  death  of  his  brother 
Bichard.  It  seems  that  his  ill-fated  family  were  destined  to  fall  one 
by  one,  and  to  leave  him  the  sole  and  forlorn  wreck  of  an  ancient 
house,  whose  name  and  fortunes  he  had  so  fondly  cherished.  Tudor, 
the  last  hope,  had  been  sent  abroad  this  spring  (1815)  in  search  of 
health.  He  had  scarcely  reached  Cheltenham,  England,  when  he 
fell  into  the  arms  of  death.  In  a  letter  from  Dr.  Brockenbrough, 
Mr.  Randolph  received  the  first  tidings  of  this  melancholy  event. 
He  was  dumb — he  opened  not  his  mouth.  "  Your  kind  and  conside- 
rate letter,"   says  he,  "  contained  the  first  intelligence  of  an  event 


70  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

which  I  have  long  expected,  yet  dreaded  to  hear.  I  can  make  no 
comment  upon  it.  To  attempt  to  describe  the  situation  of  my  mind 
would  be  vain,  even  if  it  were  practicable.  May  God  bless  you  :  to 
him  alone  I  look  for  comfort  on  this  side  the  grave ;  there  alone,  if 
at  all,  I  shall  find  it." 

Many  said  his  mind  was  unsettled ;  that  this  dark  destiny  drove 
reason  from  her  throne,  and  made  him  mad.  In  the  vulgar  estima- 
tion of  a  cold  and  selfish  world  he  was  surely  mad.  The  cries  of  a 
deep  and  earnest  soul  are  a  mockery  to  the  vain  and  unfeeling  multi- 
tude. David  had  many  sons  :  Randolph  this  only  hope,  the  child  of 
his  affections.  Yet  when  Absalom  was  slain,  "  the  king  was  much 
moved,  and  went  up  to  the  chamber  over  the  gate,  and  wept ;  and  as 
he  wept,  thus  he  said,  '  0  my  son  Absalom — my  son,  my  son  Absa- 
lom !  would  God  I  had  died  for  thee,  0  Absalom,  my  son,  my  son !' " 


CHAPTEK    YI. 

POLITICAL  REFLECTIONS — CONGRESS — BANK  CHARTER. 

I\  the  midst  of  all  his  domestic  afflictions,  bodily  ailments,  and 
mental  anxiety,  Mr.  Randolph  never  lost  sight  of  public  affairs. 
:i  As  to  politics,"  says  he,  "  I  am  sick  of  them,  and  have  resolved  to 
wash  my  hands  of  them  as  soon  as  possible."  The  thought  of  min- 
gling again  in  the  strife  of  party  politics  was  loathing  to  him  ;  but 
he  could  not  banish  from  his  mind  the  intimate  knowledge  of  politi- 
cal events,  their  causes  and  consequences,  which  he  possessed  in  so 
eminent  a  degree  ;  nor  could  he  prevent  the  natural  affinity  for  those 
great  moral  and  political  principles  and  agencies,  which  are  for  ever 
moving  and  moulding  the  social  and  political  institutions  of  mankind. 
He  was  a  statesman  by  nature — nascitur  non  fit — a  born  statesman. 
His  observations,  however  trivial  or  brief,  have  a  pith  and  meaning 
beyond  the  sagest  reflections  of  most  other  men. 

Many  of  his  reflections  rise  to  the  dignity  of  political  aphorisms, 
and  are  worthy  to  be  ranked  with  the  profound  maxims  of  the  great 


POLITICAL  REFLECTIONS.  71 

master  of  political  philosophy.  Last  May.  after  Bonaparte  had  es- 
caped from  Elba,  marched  in  triumph  to  Paris,  and  .driven  the  fright- 
ed Bourbon  once  more  from  his  throne,  Mr.  Randolph  thus  discourses 
on  the  affairs  of  Europe : 

"  On  the  late  events  in  Europe,  which  baffle  all  calculation.  I  have 
looked  with  an  eye  not  very  different  from  yours."  [Addressed  to  Mr. 
Key.]  ••  The  Bourbons  refused  to  abolish  the  slave  trade.  Bona- 
parte, from  temporal  views,  no  doubt,  has  made  it  the  first  act  after 
his  restoration  !  Here  is  food  for  solemn  meditation.  The  situation 
of  England  is,  according  to  my  conception  of  things,  more  awful  than 
ever.  A  sated  libertine  at  the  head  of  the  government ;  a  profligate 
debauchee  her  prime  minister.  "When  I  think  on  Wilberforce  and  his 
worthy  compeers,  I  cannot  despair.  Ten  such  would  have  saved  So- 
dom. But  what  a  frightful  mass  of  wickedness  does  that  country,  as 
well  as  our  own,  present !  Both  rescued,  by  the  most  providential  in- 
terference of  Heaven,  from  ruin.  But  what  do  we  see  ?  Humble 
and  hearty  thanks  for  unmerited  mercy  ?  Self-abasement,  penitence 
for  past  offences,  and  earnest  resolutions  for  future  amendment, 
through  divine  assistance  1  I  can  recognize  none  of  these.  Even 
in  myself  how  faint  are  these  feelings,  compared  with  my  conscious- 
ness of  their  necessity  !  England,  I  sometimes  think,  stands  on  the 
verge  of  some  mighty  convulsion.  The  corruption  of  her  government 
and  her  principal  men,  the  discontents  of  her  needy  and  profligate 
lower  orders,  the  acts  of  her  Cobbetts  and  Burdetts.  all  seem  to  threaten 
the  overthrow  of  her  establishment,  in  Church  and  State.  Jacobinism 
has,  I  believe,  a  stronger  hold  in  that  country  than  in  any  other  in  Eu- 
rope. But  the  foolishness  of  human  wisdom,  nothing  daunted  by  re- 
peated overthrows  of  all  its  speculations  and  the  confusion  of  its  plans, 
yet  aspires  to  grasp  and  to  control  the  designs  of  the  Almighty." 

But  the  period  had  come  for  John  Randolph  to  appear  again 
on  the  public  stage.  The  times  had  been  truly  eventful.  The  cycle 
of  five  and  twenty  years,  in  which  the  spirit  of  human  liberty  fought 
for  her  existence,  had  rolled  round  and  come  to  a  close.  Born  of  the 
divine  love  shed  forth  in  the  gospel  of  Jesus  Christ,  bursting  up  in 
radiant  majesty  from  the  crumbling  ruins  of  an  effete  feudalism,  the 
cheerful  voice  of  the  Spirit  of  Liberty  was  first  heard  in  the  National 
Assembly  of  France,  speaking  in  the  accents  of  hope  and  of  joy  to 
the  down-trodden  millions  of  the  earth.  But,  alas  !  in  the  wanton 
excess  of  an  untried  freedom,  she  quickly  ran  into  a  wild  fanati- 
cism, and  swept  the  good  as  well  as  the  evil  into  one  common 
ruin.    Seeking  to  break  the  oppressor's  rod,  and  to  tear  down  his  tow- 


72  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

ers  and  his  dungeons  of  cruelty,  she  condemned  time-honored  virtue  to 
the  same  indiscriminate  death  with  hoary-headed  vice,  and  pointed 
her  finger  of  contempt  and  mockery  at  venerated  wisdom  no  less 
than  at  cant  and  hypocrisy.  This  mad  Spirit,  lovely  even  in  her 
madness,  though  mangled  by  the  guillotine,  and  suffocated  in  the 
dungeons  of  the  Conciergerie,  rose  triumphant,  swept  like  an  angel  of 
destruction  over  the  hills  of  Ardenne,  the  plains  of  Lombardy,  and 
called  down  from  the  Pyramids  of  Egypt  the  witness  of  ages  on  the 
heroic  deeds  of  her  sons  amid  the  desert  sands  of  Africa.  But 
wearied  with  excess,  and  hunted  down,  like  Acteon,  by  the  blood- 
hounds that  had  been  nurtured  in  her  own  bosom,  she  at  length  fell 
beneath  the  iron  heel  of  an  imperial  despotism,  and  was  finally  crushed 
and  stifled  in  the  blood  of  Waterloo.  In  the  death  agonies  of  Wa- 
terloo, freedom  expired ;  a  leaden  peace  was  restored  to  Europe,  and 
a  new  lease  of  thirty  years  for  their  dominions  and  their  thrones,  was 
vouchsafed  to  monarchs.  Peace  also,  about  the  same  time,  was  re- 
stored to  our  own  borders,  and  with  it  came  temptations  to  seduce 
the  watchful  guardian  from  his  vigilant  protection  of  the  Constitu- 
tion, and  dangers  more  threatening  than  war  to  the  liberties  of  the 
country.  Pressed  by  a  common  necessity,  bearing  a  heavy  burthen 
of  taxes,  and  confronting  on  every  hand  the  external  foes  of  their 
country,  the  mass  of  the  people  had  but  one  object,  were  impelled  by 
one  sentiment — a  speedy  and  successful  termination  of  hostilities. 
That  accomplished,  each  individual  plunged  into  his  own  chosen  field 
of  enterprise,  eagerly  bent  on  his  own  aggrandizement,  while  the 
government  was  left,  unrestrained  and  unobserved,  to  pursue  its 
course  in  repairing  the  damages  brought  on  the  country  by  that  most 
unprofitable  of  all  work,  the  struggle  to  see  how  much  harm  each 
can  do  to  the  other.  The  obstructions  of  embargo  and  non- 
intercourse,  followed  by  the  destructive  operations  of  a  maritime 
war,  had  brought  in  their  train  a  series  of  evil  consecpiences.  The 
republican  party,  as  we  already  know,  advocated  those  measures. 
Without  stopping  to  inquire  whether  right  or  wrong,  the  task 
devolved  on  them,  being  still  in  the  ascendent,  to  remedy  the  evils 
they  must  have  foreseen  and  anticipated.  "  The  embargo."  said  Mr. 
Randolph  long  ago,  "  was  the  Iliad  of  all  our  woes."  The  repub- 
licans were  placed  in  a  most  difficult  and  critical  position. 

Those  young  and  ardent  spirits  who  urged  on  the  war,  and  conducted 


POLITICAL  REFLECTIONS.  73 

it  to  a  successful  termination,  were  well  suited  for  a  time  of 
excitement  and  destruction ;  but  when  the  period  arrived  for  heal- 
ing and  building  up,  graver  counsel  would  have  been  more  desirable. 
It  required  the  utmost  prudence  and  delicacy  to  restore  the  Consti- 
tution to  its  normal  state,  and  to  adjust  the  various  and  conflicting 
interests  of  the  country  in  the  well-poised  scale  of  a  wise  abstinence 
and  justice.  Unfortunately,  the  republican  party  adopted  those  mea- 
sures of  relief  which  were  most  fatal  to  their  principles.  They  who 
had  come  into  power  on  the  overthrow  of  the  doctrines  of  Hamilton, 
were  now,  under  the  plea  of  necessity,  about  to  outstrip  the  great  fede- 
ral leader  himself  in  the  adoption  and  advocacy  of  those  temporizing 
and  unconstitutional  expedients  they  had  so  loudly  condemned. 
"  Until  the  present  session,"  says  Mr.  Randolph,  "  I  had  not  a  concep- 
tion of  the  extent  of  the  change  wrought  in  the  sentiments  of  the 
people  of  this  country  by  the  war.  I  now  see  men  trained  in  the 
school  of  the  opposition  to  the  administration  of  John  Adams,  who, 
down  to  June,  1812,  were  stanch  sticklers  for  the  Constitution,  ab- 
jure all  their  former  principles,  and  declare  for  expediency  against 
right."  "We  have  been  told,  sir,"  said  Mr.  Randolph  at  a  later 
period,  "  that  the  framers  of  the  Constitution  foresaw  the  rising  sun 
of  some  new  sects,  which  were  to  construe  the  powers  of  the  govern- 
ment differently  from  their  intention  ;  and  therefore  the  clause  grant- 
ing a  general  power  to  make  all  laws  that  might  be  necessary  and 
proper  to  carry  the  granted  powers  into  effect,  was  inserted  in  the 
Constitution.  Yes,  such  a  sect  did  arise  some  twenty  years  ago ; 
and,  unfortunately,  I  had  the  honor  to  be  a  member  of  that  church. 
From  the  commencement  of  the  government  to  this  day,  differences 
have  arisen  between  the  two  great  parties  in  this  nation  ;  one  con- 
sisting of  the  disciples  of  Mr.  Hamilton,  the  Secretary  of  the  Trea- 
sury :  and  another  party,  who  believed  that  in  their  construction  of 
the  Constitution,  those  to  whom  they  opposed  themselves  exceeded 
the  just  limits  of  its  legitimate  authority;  and  I  pray  gentlemen  to 
take  into  their  most  serious  consideration  the  fact,  that  on  this  very 
question  of  construction,  this  sect,  which  the  framers  of  the  Constitu- 
tion foresaw  might  arise,  did  arise  in  their  might,  and  put  down  the 
construction  of  the  Constitution  according  to  the  Hamiltonian  ver- 
sion. But,  did  we  at  that  day  dream  that  a  new  sect  would  arise  after 
them,  which  would  as  far  transcend  Alexander  Hamilton  and  his  dis- 

VOL.    II.  4 


74  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

ciples  as  they  outwent  Thomas  Jefferson,  James  Madison  and  John 
Taylor,  of  Caroline  ?  This  is  the  deplorable  fact.  Such  is  now  the 
actual  state  of  things  in  this  land ;  and  it  is  not  a  subject  so  much 
of  demonstration  as  it  is  self-evident ;  it  speaks  to  the  senses,  so  that 
every  one  may  understand  it." 

The  first  of  that  series  of  measures  which  gave  birth  to  this  new  sect 
of  politicians,  and  brought  about  the  state  of  things  so  much  deplored 
by  Mr.  Randolph,  was  the  Bank  Charter,  passed  at  this  session  of 
Congress. 

The  first  incorporation  of  a  bank,  in  1791,  was  opposed  by  Tho- 
mas Jefferson  and  the  republican   party,  as  being  an  unwarranted 
assumption  of  power,  nowhere  granted  in  the  Constitution.     Conse- 
quently, when  the  charter  of  the  old  bank  expired  in  1811,  they 
refused  to  renew  it  on  the  same  ground.     Henry  Clay,  then  a  sena- 
tor from   Kentucky,  argued  the  question    at  great  length :    "  This 
vagrant  power,"  says  he,  "  to  erect  a  bank,  after  having  wandered 
throughout  the  whole  Constitution  in  quest  of  some  congenial  spot 
whereon  to  fasten,  has  been  at  length  located,  by  the  gentleman  from 
Georgia,  on  that  provision  which  authorizes  Congress  to  lay  and  col- 
lect taxes.     In  1791  the  power  is  referred  to  one  part  of  the  instru- 
ment; in  1811,  to  another.     Sometimes  it  is  alleged  to  be  deducible 
from  the  power  to  regulate  commerce.     Hard  pressed  here,  it  dis- 
appears, and  shows  itself  under  the  grant  to  coin  money.     The  saga- 
cious Secretary  of  the  Treasury,  in  1791,  pursued  the  wisest  course. 
He   has  taken  shelter  behind  general  high-sounding  and  imposing 
terms.     He  has  declared  in  the  preamble  to  the  act  establishing  the 
bank  that  it  will  be  very  conducive  to  the  successful  conducting  of 
the  national  finances  ;  will  tend  to  give  facility  to  the  obtaining  of 
loans  ;  and  will  be  productive  of  considerable  advantage  to  trade  and 
industry  in  general.     No  allusion  is  made  to  the  collection  of  taxes. 
What  is  the  nature  of  this  government?    It  is  emphatically  fede- 
ral, vested  with  an  aggregate  of  specified  powers  for  general  pur- 
poses,  conceded    by   existing   sovereignties,   who    have   themselves 
retained  what  is  not  so  conceded.     It  is  said  that  there  are  cases 
in  which  it  must  act  on  implied  powers.     This  is  not  controverted  ; 
but  the  implication  must  be  necessary,  and  obviously  flow  from  the 
enumerated  power  with  which  it  is  allied.     The  power  to  charter 
companies  is  not  specified  in  the  grant,  and,  I  contend,  is  of  a  nature 


POLITICAL  REFLECTIONS.  75 

not  transferable  by  mere  implication.     It  is  one  of  the  most  exalted 
attributes  of  sovereignty.     In  the  exercise  of  this  gigantic  power,  we 
have  seen  an  East  India  Company  created,  which  has  carried  dismay, 
desolation  and  death,  thoughout  one  of  the  largest  portions  of  the  habit- 
able globe  ;  a  company  which  is.  in  itself,  a  sovereignty,  which  has 
subverted  empires,  and  set  up  new  dynasties,  and  has  not  only  made 
war,  but  war  against  its  legitimate  sovereign  !     Under  the  influence 
of  this  power,  we  have  seen  arise  a  South  Sea  Company  and  a  Missis- 
sippi   Company,    that    distracted    and    convulsed   all    Europe,    and 
menaced  a  total  overthrow  of  all  credit  and  confidence,  and  universal 
bankruptcy.     Is  it  to  be  imagined  that  a  power  so  vast  would  have 
been  left  by  the  wisdom  of  the  Constitution  to  doubtful  inference  ?" 
Such  was  the  forcible  reasoning  that  induced  the  republicans  in 
1811  to  refuse  to  recharter  the  bank  or  to  incorporate  another  simi- 
lar institution.     They  stood  by  the  Constitution.     But  now,  in  1816, 
every  thing. was  changed  ;  and  what  seemed  unconstitutional  before 
had    become  clearly  necessary  and   proper,  and   therefore  constitu- 
tional.    Mr.  Clay,  who  had  become  their  leader  and  exponent,  under- 
takes to  justify  his  change  of  position  :  "  The  consideration,"  says  he, 
"upon  which  I  acted  in  1811  was,  that  as  the  power  to  create  a  cor- 
poration, such  as  was  proposed  to  be  continued,  was  not  specifically 
granted  in  the  Constitution,  and  did  not  then  appear  to  me  to  be 
necessary  to  carry  into  effect  any  of  the  powers  which  were  specifi- 
cally granted,  Congress  was  not  authorized  to  continue  the  bank. 
The  Constitution  contains  powers  delegated  and  prohibitory  ;  powers 
expressed  and  constructive.     It  vests  in  Congress  all  powers  neces- 
sary to  give  effect  to  the  enumerated  powers ;  all  that  may  be  neces- 
sary to  put  in  motion  and  activity  the  machine  of  government  which 
it  constructs.     The  powers  that  may  be  so  necessary  are  deducible 
by  construction  ;  they  are  not  defined  in  the  Constitution  ;  they  are, 
from  their  nature,  undefinable.     When  the  question  is  in  relation  to 
one  of  these  powers,  the  point  of  inquiry  should  be,  is  its  exertion 
necessary  to  carry  into  effect  any  of  the  enumerated  powers  and  ob- 
jects of  the  General  Government?     With  regard  to  the  degree  of  ne- 
cessity, various  rules  have  been   at  different  times  laid  down ;  but, 
perhaps,  at  last,  there  is  no  other  than  a  sound  and  honest  judgment 
exercised,  under  the  checks  and  control  which  belong  to  the  Consti- 
tution and  the  people. 


76  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

"  The  constructive  powers  being  auxiliary  to  the  specifically 
granted  powers,  and  depending  for  their  sanction  and  existence  upon 
a  necessity  to  give  effect  to  the  latter — which  necessity  is  to  be 
sought  for  and  ascertained  by  a  sound  and  honest  discretion — it  is 
manifest  that  this  necessity  may  not  be  perceived,  at  one  time,  under 
one  state  of  things,  when  it  is  perceived,  at  another  time,  under  a 
different  state  of  things.  The  Constitution,  it  is  true,  never  changes  ; 
it  is  always  the  same  ;  but  the  force  of  circumstances  and  the  lights 
of  experience  may  evolve,  to  the  fallible  persons  charged  with  its  ad- 
ministration, the  fitness  and  necessity  of  a  particular  exercise  of  con- 
structive power  to-day,  which  they  did  not  see  at  a  former  period." 
Mr.  Clay  then  goes  on  to  state  facts  which,  in  his  judgment,  rendered 
a  bank  in  1811  unnecessary.  There  were  other  means  of  conducting 
the  fiscal  affairs  of  the  Government ;  "  They,"  says  he,  "  superseded 
the  necessity  of  a  national  institution."  But  how  stood  the  case  in 
1816,  when  he  was  called  upon  again  to  examine  the  power  of  the 
General  Government  to  incorporate  a  national  bank?  A  total  change 
of  circumstances  was  presented ;  events  of  the  utmost  magnitude 
had  intervened.  These  events  made  a  bank,  in  the  opinion  of  Mr. 
Clay,  necessary  and  proper,  as  an  implied  power,  and  therefore  con- 
stitutional. But  Mr.  Clay  does  not  do  full  justice  to  his  position  in 
1811.  He  then  declared  that  the  poiver  to  charter  companies  is  not 
specified  in  the  grant,  and  is  of  a  nature  not  transferable  by  mere 
implication.  It  is  one  of  the  most  exalted  attributes  of  sovereignty.  It 
is  inconceivable  how  a  man,  holding  these  opinions,  could  suffer  any 
possible  circumstances  that  might  arise,  to  influence  and  change  his 
position. 

Yet  Mr.  Clay  did  shift  his  ground  entirely,  and  contend,  that 
although  the  power  to  charter  companies  was  not  specified  in  the 
grant,  and  was  one  of  the  most  exalted  attributes  of  sovereignty,  still 
it  was  a  constructive  power  necessary  and  proper  to  carry  into  effect 
those  specifically  granted,  and  therefore  to  be  implied  as  a  consequent 
and  appendage  to  them.  The  force  of  circumstances  may  evolve  to 
the  fallible  persons,  charged  with  the  administration  of  the  govern- 
ment, the  fitness  and  necessity  of  a  particular  exercise  of  constructive 
poiver  to-day,  which  they  did  not  see  at  a  former  period.  And  the 
degree  of  necessity  which  renders  such  constructive  poxoer  constitu- 
tional is  made  to  depend  on  the  sound  and  honest  judgment  of  those 


POLITICAL  REFLECTIONS.  77 

in  authority.  Men  who  wish  to  exercise  a  doubtful  power,  not  spe- 
cified in  the  grant,  may  themselves  create  the  circumstances  that  shall 
render  its  exercise,  in  their  estimation,  necessary  and  proper.  In- 
stead of  looking  to  the  charter  to  see  whether  the  power  is  granted, 
they  have  only  to  consider  the  force  of  circumstances  urging  on  them, 
and  to  consult  their  own  judgments  (fallible  persons)  as  to  the  degree 
of  necessity  which  justifies  the  assumption  of  an  undelegated  author- 
ity. This  is  a  virtual  surrender  of  the  Constitution.  By  such  a  law 
of  interpretation,  the  jurisdiction  of  the  Federal  Government  is  made 
unlimited,  and,  instead  of  possessing  delegated,  specifically  defined, 
and  limited  powers,  it  becomes  a  magnificent,  all-absorbing,  all-gov- 
erning empire,  with  unrestrained  and  unlimited  authority. 

But  Mr.  Clay  did  not  stand  alone  in  this  abandonment  of  the  Con- 
stitution. He  was  followed  by  a  decided  majority  of  the  republican 
party  in  Congress,  and  by  all  the  executive  authorities,  with  the  Pre- 
sident at  their  head.  At  first,  there  were  some  constitutional  scru- 
ples manifested  by  the  members  of  the  House  of  Representatives. 
Men  could  not  be  brought  to  believe  the  difficulties  in  question,  if 
they  existed  at  all,  were  such  as  to  require  the  House  to  sacrifice 
principle  at  the  shrine  of  necessity.  On  the  10th  of  January,  1814, 
Mr.  Eppes,  from  the  Committee  of  Ways  and  Means,  reported  that 
the  power  to  create  corporations  within  the  territorial  limits  of  the 
States,  without  the  consent  of  the  States,  is  neither  one  of  the  pow- 
ers delegated  by  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States,  or  essentially 
necessary  for  carrying  into  effect  any  delegated  power. 

Mr.  Calhoun,  of  South  Carolina,  moved  that  the  Committee  of  the 
Whole  be  discharged  from  the  consideration  of  this  report,  which  was 
agreed  to,  and  offered,  as  a  substitute,  a  resolution  that  the  Commit- 
tee of  Ways  and  Means  be  instructed  to  inquire  into  the  expediency 
of  establishing  a  national  bank,  to  be  located  in  the  District  of  Co- 
lumbia. In  this  way  they  thought  to  get  around  the  constitutional 
question.  But  men  soon  came  to  see  the  alarming  consequences  of 
an  interpretation  which  permitted  Congress,  in  the  District,  to  do  the 
most  unconstitutional  acts,  merely  because  they  possessed  exclusive 
jurisdiction. 

At  length,  all  these  subterfuges  were  abandoned  ;  and  on  the  8th 
of  January,  1816,  an  ominous  day  for  the  bank,  Mr.  Calhoun  re- 
ported "  A  bill  to  incorporate  the   subscribers  to  the  Bank  of  the 


78  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

United  States."  In  his  opening  argument,  he  undertook  to  show  the 
necessity  that  urged  to  the  adoption  of  the  measure  now  proposed. 
"  We  have,"  says  he,  "  in  lieu  of  gold  and  silver,  a  paper  medium,  un- 
equally but  generally  depreciated,  which  affects  the  trade  and  indus- 
try of  the  nation :  which  paralyzes  the  national  arm  ;  which  sullies 
the  faith,  both  public  and  private,  of  the  United  States — a  paper  no 
longer  resting  on  gold  and  silver  as  its  basis.  We  have,  indeed, 
laws  regulating  the  currency  of  foreign  coin,  but  they  are,  under  pre- 
sent circumstances,  a  mockery  of  legislation,  because  there  is  no  coin 
in  circulation.  The  right  of  making  money — an  attribute  of  sove- 
reign power,  a  sacred  and  important  right — was  exercised  by  two 
hundred  and  sixty  banks,  scattered  over  every  part  of  the  United 
States ;  not  responsible  to  any  power  whatever  for  their  issues  of 
paper.  The  next  and  great  inquiry  was,"  he  said,  "  how  this  evil 
was  to  be  remedied  1  Restore,"  said  he,  "  these  institutions  to  their 
original  use  ;  cause  them  to  give  up  this  usurped  power  ;  cause  them 
to  return  to  their  legitimate  office  of  places  of  discount  and  deposit; 
let  them  be  no  longer  mere  paper  machines  ;  restore  the  state  of 
things  which  existed  anterior  to  1813,  which  was  consistent  with 
the  just  policy  and  interests  of  the  country ;  cause  them  to  fulfil 
their  contracts ;  to  respect  their  broken  faith  ;  resolve  that  every 
where  there  shall  be  an  uniform  value  to  the  national  currency  ; 
your  constitutional  control  will  then  prevail."  A  National  Bank,  he 
argued,  was  the  specific  to  cure  all  these  evils. 

Mr.  Randolph,  who  made  his  appearance  in  the  House  for  the  first 
time  about  the  period  that  Mr.  Calhoun  introduced  his  bill,  took 
occasion  to  say,  that  he  had  listened  to  the  honorable  gentleman  with 
pleasure.  He  was  glad  to  see  a  cause  so  important  in  hands  so  able. 
He  promised  the  honorable  gentleman,  though  he  might  not  agree 
with  his  mode  of  remedying  the  evil,  he  would  go  with  him  in  the 
application  of  any  adequate  remedy  to  an  evil  which  he  regarded  as 
most  enormous. 

Mr.  Randolph  said  he  rose  to  ask  two  questions — one  of  the  gen- 
tleman from  South  Carolina,  aud  the  other  of  the  gentleman  from 
Maryland : — first,  how  the  paper  to  be  created  by  this  bank  will  cor- 
rect the  vitiated  state  of  our  currency?  and,  secondly,  how  bank 
notes  can  answer  the  purpose  of  a  circulating  medium  better  than 
treasury  notes  ?     Though  no  stickler  for  treasury  notes,   Mr.  Ran- 


POLITICAL  REFLECTIONS.  79 

dolph  intimated  his  opinion  that  they  were,  in  time  of  peace,  a  better 
substitute  for  gold  and  silver  than  any  paper  he  had  yet  heard  sub- 
mitted. He  added  some  incidental  observations,  and  concluded  by 
saying,  that  he  was  sorry  to  see  the  apathy,  the  listlessness  on  this 
subject :  on  a  question,  which,  if  it  passed,  would,  perhaps,  be  the 
most  important  decided  since  the  establishment  of  the  Constitution  ; 
and  that  though  he  agreed  fully  as  to  the  extent  of  the  existing  evil, 
the  remedy  had  been  totally  mistaken. 

During  the  progress  of  the  bill  through  the  House,  a  motion  was 
made  to   strike   out  that  part  which  authorizes  the  Government  to 
subscribe  a   certain  portion  of  the   stock.     Mr.  Randolph   said  he 
should  vote  for  this  motion,  because  one  of  his  chief  objections  (one 
of  them,  he  repeated)  was  the  concern  which  it  was  proposed  to  give 
to  the  United  States  in  the  bank.     He  referred  to  the  sale,  by  the 
Secretary  of  the  Treasury,  some  years  ago.  of  the  shares  belonging  to 
the  Bank  of  the  United  States,  and  stated  the  reasons  of  his  approv- 
ing that  step  ;  but,  he  added,  that  it  was  a  strong  argument  against 
the  feature  of  the  bank  bill  now  under  consideration,  that  whenever 
there  should  be  in  this  country  a  necessitous  and  profligate  adminis- 
tration of  the  G-overnment,  that  bank  stock  would  be  laid  hold  of  by 
the  first  Squanderfield  at  the  head  of  the  Treasury,  as  the  means  of 
filling  its  empty  coffers.     But,  if  there  was  no  objection  to  this  fea- 
ture stronger  than  that  it  would  afford  provision  for  the  first  rainy 
day,  it  might  not  be  considered  so  very  important.     He  argued,  how- 
ever, that  it  was  eternally  true,  that  nothing  but  the  precious  metals, 
or  paper  bottomed  on  them,  could  answer  as  the  currency  of  any 
nation  or  age,  notwithstanding  the  fanciful  theories  that  great  pay- 
ments could  only  be  made  by  credits  and  paper.     How,  he  asked  on 
this  point,  were  the  mighty  armies  of  the  ancient  world  paid  off"? 
Certainly  not  in  paper  or  bank  credits.     He  expressed  his  fears,  lest 
gentlemen  had  got  some  of  their  ideas  on  these  subjects  from  the 
wretched  pamphlets  under  which  the  British  and  American  press  had 
groaned,  on  the  subject  of  a  circulating  medium.     He  said  he  had 
once   himself  turned  projector,  and  sketched  the  plan  of  a  bank,  of 
which  it  was  a  feature,  that  the  Government  should  have  a  concern 
in  it :  but  he  became  convinced  of  the  iauacy  of  his  views — he  found 
his  project  would  not  answer.     His  objections  to  the  agency  of  the 
Government  in  a  bank  was,  therefore,  he  said,  of  no  recent  date,  but 


30  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

one  long  formed — the  objection  was  vital ;  that  it  would  be  an  engine 
of  irresistible  power  in  the  hands  of  any  administration  ;  that  it 
would  be  in  politics  and  finance,  what  the  celebrated  proposition  of 
Archimedes  was  in  physics — a  place,  the  fulcrum ;  from  which,  at 
the  will  of  the  Executive,  the  whole  nation  could  be  hurled  to  de- 
struction, or  managed  in  any  way,  at  his  will  and  pleasure. 

This  bill,  in  the  view  of  Mr.  Randolph,  presented  two  distinct 
questions :  the  one  frigidly  and  rigorously  a  mere  matter  of  calcula- 
lation ;  the  other,  involving  some  very  important  political  conside- 
rations. . 

In  regard  to  the  present  depreciation  of  paper,  he  did  not  agree 
with  those  who  thought  the  establishment  of  a  National  Bank  would 
aid  in  the  reformation  of  it.  If  he  were  to  go  into  the  causes  which 
produced  the  present  state  of  things,  he  said,  he  should  never  end. 
As  to  the  share  the  banks  themselves  had  in  producing  it,  he  re- 
garded the  dividends  they  had  made  since  its  commencement  as  con- 
clusive proof. 

"  The  present  time,  sir,"  continued  Mr.  Randolph,  "  is,  in  my  view, 
one  of  the  most  diastrous  ever  witnessed  in  the  republic,  and  this  bill 
proves  it.  The  proposal  to  establish  this  great  bank  is  but  resorting 
to  a  crutch,  and,  so  far  as  I  understand  it,  it  is  a  broken  one ;  it  will 
tend,  instead  of  remedying  the  evil,  to  aggravate  it.  The  evil  of  the 
times  is  a  spirit  engendered  in  this  republic,  fatal  to  republican  prin- 
ciples— fatal  to  republican  virtue :  a  spirit  to  live  by  any  means  but 
those  of  honest  industry ;  a  spirit  of  profusion  :  in  other  words,  the 
spirit  of  Catiline  himself — cdieni  avidus  sui  jjrofusus — a  spirit  of  ex- 
pediency, not  only  in  public  but  in  private  life  :  the  system  of  Didler 
in  the  farce — living  any  way  and  well ;  wearing  an  expensive  coat, 
and  drinking  the  finest  wines,  at  any  body's  expense.  This  bank,  I 
imagine,  sir,  (I  am  far  from  ascribing  to  the  gentleman  from  South 
Carolina  any  such  views,)  is,  to  a  certain  extent,  a  modification  of  the 
same  system.  Connected,  as  it  is  to  be,  with  the  Government,  when- 
ever it  goes  into  operation,  a  scene  will  be  exhibited  on  the  great 
theatre  of  the  United  States,  at  which  I  shudder.  If  we  mean  to  trans- 
mit our  institutions  unimpaired  to  posterity  ;  if  some,  now  living,  wish 
to  continue  to  live  under  the  same  institutions  by  which  they  are  now 
ruled — and  with  all  its  evils,  real  or  imaginary,  I  presume  no  man 
will  question  that  we  live  under  the  easiest  government  on  the  globe 
— we  must  put  bounds  to  the  spirit  which  seeks  wealth  by  every  path 
but  the  plain  and  regular  path  of  honest  industry  and  honest  fame. 

Let  us  not  disguise  the  fact,  sir,  we  think  we  are  living  in  the  bet- 
ter times  of  the  Republic.     We  deceive  ourselves  ;  we  are  almost  in 


POLITICAL  REFLECTIONS.  81 

the  days  of  Sylla  and  Marius  :  yes,  we  have  almost  got  down  to  the 
time  of  Jugurtha.  It  is  unpleasant  to  put  one's  self  in  array  against  a 
great  leading  interest  in  a  community,  be  they  a  knot  of  land  specula- 
tors, paper  jobbers,  or  what  not :  but,  sir,  every  man  you  meet  in  this 
House  or  out  of  it,  with  some  rare  exceptions,  which  only  serve  to 
prove  the  rule,  is  either  a  stockholder,  president,  cashier,  clerk,  or 
doorkeeper,  runner,  engraver,  paper-maker,  or  mechanic,  in  some  way 
or  other,  to  a  bank.  The  gentleman  from  Pennsylvania  ma}^  dismiss 
his  fears  for  the  banks,  with  their  one  hundred  and  seventy  millions 
of  paper,  on  eighty-two  millions  of  capital.  However  great  the  evil 
of  their  conduct  may  be,  who  is  to  bell  the  cat  ?  who  is  to  take  the 
bull  by  the  horns  ?  You  might  as  well  attack  Gibraltar  with  a  pocket 
pistol  as  to  attempt  to  punish  them.  There  are  very  few  who  dare 
speak  truth  to  this  mammoth.  The  banks  are  so  linked  together  with 
the  business  of  the  world,  that  there  are  very  few  men  exempt  from 
their  influence.  The  true  secret  is,  the  banks  are  creditors  as  well  as 
debtors  ;  and  if  they  were  merely  debtors  to  us  for  the  paper  in  our 
pockets,  they  would  soon,  like  Morris  and  Nicholson,  go  to  jail  (figu- 
ratively speaking)  for  having  issued  more  paper  than  they  were  able 
to  pay  when  presented  to  them.  A  man  has  their  note  for  fifty  dol- 
lars, perhaps,  in  his  pocket,  for  which  he  wants  fifty  Spanish  milled 
dollars ;  but  they  have  his  note  for  five  thousand  in  their  possession, 
and  laugh  at  his  demand.  We  are  tied  hand  and  foot,  sir,  and  bound 
to  conciliate  this  great  mammoth,  which  is  set  up  to  worship  in  this 
Christian  land  :  we  are  bound  to  propitiate  it.  Thus  whilst  our  govern- 
ment denounces  hierarchy  ;  will  permit  no  privileged  order  for  con- 
ducting the  services  of  the  only  true  God;  whilst  it  denounces  nobi- 
lity— has  a  privileged  order  of  new  men  grown  up,  the  pressure  of 
whose  foot,  sir,  I  feel  at  this  moment  on  my  neck.  If  any  thing 
could  reconcile  me  to  this  monstrous  alliance  between  the  bank  and 
the  government,  if  the  object  could  be  attained  of  compelling  the 
banks  to  fulfil  their  engagements,  I  could  almost  find  it  in  my  heart 
to  go  with  the  gentleman  in  voting  for  it. 

'•  The  stuff  uttered  on  all  hands,  and  absolutely  got  by  rote  by  the 
haberdashers'  boys  behind  the  counters  in  the  shops,  that  the  paper 
now  in  circulation  will  buy  any  thing  you  want  as  well  as  gold  and 
silver,  is  answered  by  saying  that  you  want  to  buy  silver  with  it. 
The  present  mode  of'  banking,  sir,  goes  to  demoralize  society  :  it  is  as 
much  swindling  to  issue  notes  with  the  intent  not  to  pay,  as  it  is  bur- 
glary to  break  open  a  house.  If  they  are  unable  to  pay,  the  banks 
are  bankrupts  ;  if  able  to  pay  and  will  not,  they  are  fraudulent  bank- 
rupts. But  a  man  might  as  well  go  to  Constantinople  to  preach 
Christianity,  as  to  get  up  here  and  preach  against  the  banks.  To 
pass  this  bill  would  be  like  getting  rid  of  the  rats  by  setting  fire  to 
the  house.     Whether  any  other  remedy  can  be  devised,  I  will  not 

vol.  n.  4* 


g2  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

now  undertake  to  pronounce.  The  banks  have  lost  all  shame,  and 
exemplify  a  beautiful  and  very  just  observation  of  one  of  the  finest 
writers,  that  men  banded  together  in  a  common  cause,  will  collectively 
do  that  at  which  every  individual  of  the  combination  would  spurn. 
This  observation  has  been  applied  to  the  enormities  committed  and 
connived  at  by  the  British  East  India  Company  ;  and  will  equally 
appply  to  the  modern  system  of  banking,  and  still  more  to  the  spirit 
of  party. 

'•  As  to  establishing  this  bank  to  prevent  a  variation  in  the  rate  of 
exchange  of  bank  paper,  you  might  as  well  expect  it  to  prevent  the 
variations  of  the  wind ;  you  might  as  well  pass  an  act  of  Congress 
(for  which,  if  it  would  be  of  any  good,  I  should  certainly  vote)  to 
prevent  the  northwest  wind  from  blowing  in  our  teeth  as  we  go  from 
the  House  to  our  lodgings. 

'•  But,  sir,  I  will  conclude  by  pledging  myself  to  agree  to  any  ade- 
quate means  to  cure  the  great  evil,  that  are  consistent  with  the  ad- 
ministration of  the  government,  in  such  a  manner  as  to  conduce  to 
the  happiness  of  the  people  and  the  reformation  of  the  public  morals." 

Mr.  Randolph  combated  the  bill  in  all  its  stages,  moved  amend- 
ments with  a  view  of  abridging  and  restraining  the  powers  of  the 
corporation,  and,  finally,  on  the  5th  of  April,  1816,  when  the  bill  was 
sent  back  from  the  Senate  with  sundry  amendments  for  the  concur- 
rence of  the  House,  he  moved,  for  the  purpose  of  destroying  the  bill, 
that  the  whole  subject  be  indefinitely  postponed  ;  and  supported  his 
motion  by  adverting  to  the  small  number  of  members  present,  and 
the  impropriety  of  passing,  by  a  screwed  up,  strained,  and  costive 
majority,  so  important  a  measure,  at  the  end  of  a  session,  when  the 
members  were  worn  down  and  exhausted  by  a  daily  and  long  atten- 
tion to  business  ;  a  measure  which,  in  time  of  war,  and  of  great  pub- 
lic emergency,  could  not  be  forced  through  the  House  ;  a  measure  so 
deeply  involving  the  future  welfare,  and  which  was  to  give  a  color 
and  character  to  the  future  destiny  of  this  country  ;  a  measure  which, 
if  it  and  another  (the  tariff)  should  pass  into  laws,  the  present  ses- 
sion would  be  looked  back  to  as  the  most  disastrous  since  the  com- 
mencement of  the  republic  ;  and  which,  much  as  he  deprecated  war, 
he  would  prefer  war  itself  to  either  of  them.  Mr.  Randolph  then 
proceeded  to  argue  against  the  bill  as  unconstitutional,  inexpedient, 
and  dangerous.  His  constitutional  objections,  he  said,  were  borne 
out  by  the  decision  of  Congress  in  refusing  to  renew  the  charter  of 
the  old  bank,  which  decision  was  grounded  on  the  want  of  constitu- 


POLITICAL  REFLECTIONS.  33 

tional  power.  He  adverted,  also,  in  support  of  his  opinion,  to  the 
instructions  from  the  legislatures  of  Virginia  and  Kentucky  to  their 
senators  to  vote  against  the  old  bank  ;  which  instructions  were  given 
on  the  ground  of  that  institution  being  unconstitutional.  "  I  declare 
to  you,  sir,"  said  Mr.  Randolph,  "  that  I  am  the  holder  of  no  stock 
whatever,  except  live  stock,  and  had  determined  never  to  own  any 
— but,  if  this  bill  passes,  I  will  not  only  be  a  stockholder  to  the 
utmost  of  my  power,  but  will  advise  every  man,  over  whom  I  have 
any  influence,  to  do  the  same,  because  it  is  the  creation  of  a  great 
privileged  order  of  the  most  hateful  kind  to  my  feelings,  and  because 
I  would  rather  be  the  master  than  the  slave.  If  I  must  have  a 
master,  let  him  be  one  with  epaulettes — something  that  I  can  fear 
and  respect,  something  that  I  can  look  up  to — but  not  a  master  with 
a  quill  behind  his  ear." 

After  finally  passing  through  both  Houses,  the  bank  bill  was  pre- 
sented to  Mr.  Madison  ;  he  signed  it,  and  it  became  a  law.  Mr. 
Madison,  it  is  well  known,  was  hitherto  opposed  to  the  incorporation 
of  a  National  Bank  on  constitutional  grounds.  His  Report  in  1799- 
1800,  to  the  Virginia  legislature  on  the  general  powers  of  the  Fed- 
eral Government,  is  conclusive  and  unanswerable  on  that  subject. 
But  on  the  present  occasion  he  waived  the  question  of  the  constitu- 
tional authority  of  the  legislature  to  establish  an  incorporated  bank, 
as  being  precluded,  in  his  judgment,  by  repeated  recognitions,  under 
varied  circumstances,  of  the  validity  of  such  an  institution  in  acts  of 
the  legislative,  executive,  and  judicial  branches  of  the  government, 
accompanied  by  indications,  in  different  modes,  of  a  concurrence  of 
the  general  will  of  the  nation. 

Mr.  Clay  and  his  compeers  surrendered  the  Constitution  on  the 
plea  of  necessity — tlie  force  of  circumstances — Mr.  Madison  on  the 
score  of  precedent — repeated  recognitions  of  the  validity  of  such  an 
institution  !  "Well  might  the  patriot  weep  over  this  last,  fatal  act  of 
a  great  and  a  good  man  !  Well  might  he  bemoan  the  imbecility  of 
human  nature,  when  he  beheld  the  same  hand  that  constructed  the 
immortal  argument  by  which  the  Constitution  is  made  to  rest  on  its 
true  and  lasting  basis,  in  old  age  destroy  the  glorious  work  of  its 
meridian  power. 

Randolph  did  not  scruple  to  charge  this  act  to  the  weakness  of 


84  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

old  age.     Some  years  after  this  event,  and  when  the  bank  was  in  full 
career,  fulfilling  all  his  predictions,  hear  what  he  says  : — 

';  I  am  sorry  to  say,  because  I  should  be  the  last  man  in  the  world 
to  disturb  the  repose  of  a  venerable  man,  to  whom  I  wish  a  quiet  end 
of  his  honorable  life,  that  all  the  difficulties  under  which  we  have 
labored,  and  now  labor,  on  this  subject  (Tariff  and  Internal  Improve- 
ment by  the  General  Government),  have  grown  out  of  a  fatal  admis- 
sion, by  one  of  the  late  Presidents  of  the  United  States,  an  admission 
which  runs  counter  to  the  tenor  of  his  whole  political  life,  and  is  ex- 
pressly contradicted  by  one  of  the  most  luminous  and  able  state  pa- 
pers that  ever  was  written,  the  offspring  of  his  pen — an  admission 
which  gave  a  sanction  to  the  principle,  that  this  government  had  the 
power  to  charter  the  present  colossal  Bank  of  the  United  States. 
Sir,"  said  Mr.  Randolph,  "  that  act,  and  one  other,  which  I  will  not 
name,  bring  forcibly  home  to  my  mind  a  train  of  melancholy  reflec- 
tions on  the  miserable  state  of  our  mortal  being. 

'  In  life's  last  scenes,  what  prodigies  arise  ! 
Fears  of  the  hrave  and  follies  of  the  wise. 
From  Marlborough's  eyes  the  streams  of  dotage  flow  ; 
And  Swift  expires  a  driv'ler  and  a  show.' 

"  Such  is  the  state  of  the  case,  sir.  It  is  miserable  to  think  of  it 
— and  we  have  nothing  left  to  us  but  to  weep  over  it." 

And  again,  on  the  same  occasion,  in  1824 — 

"  But  the  gentleman  from  New-York,  and  some  others  who  have 
spoken  on  this  occasion,  say,  What !  shall  we  be  startled  by  a  shadow? 
Shall  we  recoil  from  taking  a  power  clearly  within  (what  ?)  our  reach  ? 
Shall  we  not  clutch  the  sceptre — the  air-drawn  sceptre  that  invites 
our  hand,  because  of  the  fears  and  alarms  of  the  gentleman  from 
Virginia? 

"  Sir,  if  I  cannot  give  reason  to  the  committee,  they  shall  at  least 
have  authority.  Thomas  Jefferson,  then  in  the  vigor  of  his  intellect, 
was  one  of  the  persons  who  denied  the  existence  of  such  powers — 
James  Madison  was  another.  He,  in  that  masterly  and  unrivalled 
report  in  the  legislature  of  Virginia,  which  is  worthy  to  be  the  text- 
book of  every  American  statesman,  has  settled  this  question.  For 
me  to  attempt  to  add  any  thing  to  the  arguments  of  that  paper,  would 
be  to  attempt  to  gild  refined  gold — to  paint  the  lily — to  throw  a  per- 
fume on  the  violet — to  smooth  the  ice — or  add  another  hue  unto  the 
rainbqw — in  every  aspect  of  it,  wasteful  and  ridiculous  excess.  Nei- 
ther will  I  hold  up  my  farthing  rush-light  to  the  blaze  of  that  me- 
ridian sun.  But,  sir,  I  cannot  but  deplore — my  heart  aches  when  I 
think  of  it — that  the  hand  which  erected  that  monument  of  political 
wisdom,  should  have  signed  the  act  to  incorporate  the  present  Bank 
of  the  United  States." 


HOME— SOLITUDE.  85 


CHAPTER    VII. 

HOME — SOLITUDE. 

Mr.  Randolph  was  not  less  strenuous  in  his  opposition  to  the  "  revenue 
bill,"  or  tariff  measure,  of  this  eventful  session  ;  but  we  pass  that,  for 
the  present,  until  it  conies  up  again  in  a  more  aggravated  form.  Death, 
it  seems,  had  made  his  friends  the  chosen  mark  for  his  fatal  weapons. 
Mrs.  Judith  Randolph  died  in  March,  at  the  house  of  her  friend — a 
great  and  a  good  man — Dr.  John  H.  Rice,  of  Richmond.  She  doubt- 
less died  of  a  broken  heart.  Bereft  of  every  comfort,  life  had  no 
charms  for  her,  and  she  sought  death  as  a  blessing.  Her  friends 
and  Mr.  Randolph's  friends  followed  her  mortal  remains  in  sad  pro- 
cession to  Tuckahoe — the  family  seat  of  her  ancestors — some  miles 
above  Richmond,  on  James  River,  where  they  rest  in  peace  beneath 
the  shadow  of  those  venerable  oaks  that  witnessed  the  sweet  gambols 
of  her  joyous  and  innocent  childhood. 

No  sooner  was  this  sad  bereavement  communicated  to  Mr.  Ran- 
dolph, than  he  was  called  to  the  bedside  of  a  dying  friend — an  old 
and  tried  friend — a  companion  who  had  stood  by  him  through  evil  as 
well  as  good  report,  as  he  fought  like  a  bold  champion  for  the  Con- 
stitution and  the  rights  of  the  people.  ':  Yesterday  (April  11th)  we 
buried  poor  Stanford.  I  staid  by  his  bedside  the  night  before  he 
died.  Jupiter  was  worn  down  by  nursing  him,  and  is  still  feeling  the 
effects  of  it.  He  returned  home  on  Sunday  morning,  and  has  been 
sick  ever  since.  My  own  health  is  not  much  better,  and  my  spirits 
worse.  Poor  Stanford  !  he  is  not  the  least  regretted  of  those  who 
have  been  taken  from  me  within  the  past  year." 

In  addition  to  his  present  family — Dr.  Dudley  and  young  Clay — 
Mr.  Randolph  took  upon  himself  the  charge  and  the  responsibility  of  two 
other  orphan  boys.  "  I  have  just  returned  from  Baltimore,  where  I 
went  to  meet  the  sons  of  my  deceased  friend  Bryan,  consigned  to  my 
care.  They  are  fine  boys,  but  have  been  much  neglected.  I  propose 
to  place  them  at  Prince  Edward  College,  under  the  care  of  Dr. 
Hogue,  after  they  shall  have  undergone  some  preparatory  tuition  at 
Mr.  Lacy's  school." 


36  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

These  acts  speak  for  themselves.  By  these,  and  such  as  these, 
that  crowd  his  whole  life,  let  him  be  judged.  Here  is  one  the 
world  have  agreed  to  condemn  as  a  misanthrope — a  hater  of  his 
fellow-man.  It  is  certain  he  did  not  seek  to  be  known  of  men. 
Few  could  understand  ("  My  mother — she  understood  me  !"),  few 
could  appreciate  him. 

While  apparently  absorbed  in  the  business  of  legislation,  the  great 
question  was  still  uppermost  in  his  thoughts.  Before  leaving  "Wash- 
ington for  his  solitary  home,  he  sought  an  interview  with  his  trusty 
friend,  "Frank  Key,"  and  rode  over  to  Georgetown  (May  7th,  1816,) 
for  that  purpose.  But  failing  to  meet  with  him,  he  went  into  Semmes's 
Hotel,  and  wrote  him  the  following  letter  : 

"  Hearing,  at  Davis's,  yesterday,  that  you  were  seen  in  George- 
town the  evening  before,  I  came  here  in  the  expectation  of  the  pleas- 
ure of  seeing  you ;  but  my  intelligence  proved  to  be  like  the  greater 
part  that  happens  under  that  name  in  this  poor,  foolish  world  of 
ours.  I  had  also  another  motive.  I  wished  to  give  Wood  an  oppor- 
tunity to  finish  the  picture.  I  called  last  evening,  but  he  was  gone  to 
Mt.  Vernon.  I  shall  drive  by  his  apartment,  and  give  him  the  last 
sitting  this  morning.  It  is  a  soothing  reflection  to  me,  that  your 
children,  long  after  I  am  dead  and  gone,  may  look  upon  their  some- 
time father's  friend,  of  whose  features  they  will  have  perhaps  retained 
some  faint  recollection.  Let  me  remind  you  that,  although  I  am 
childless,  I  cannot  forego  my  claim  to  the  return  picture,  on  which  I 
set  a  very  high  value. 

"  Your  absence  from  home  is  a  sore  disappointment  to  me.  I 
wanted  to  have  talked  with  you,  unreservedly,  on  subjects  of  the  high- 
est interest.  I  wanted  your  advice  as  a  friend,  on  the  course  of  my 
future  life.  Hitherto  it  has  been  almost' without  plan  or  system — 
the  sport  of  what  we  call  chance. 

"  About  a  year  ago,  I  got  a  scheme  into  my  head,  which  I  have 
more  than  once  hinted  to  you ;  but  I  fear  my  capacity  to  carry  it 
into  execution. 

"  There  is,  however,  another  cause  of  uneasiness,  about  which  I 
could  have  wished  to  confer  freely  with  you.  It  has  cost  me  many  a 
pang,  within  a  few  months  past  especially.  In  the  most  important 
of  human  concerns  I  have  made  no  advancement ;  on  the  contrary 
(as  is  always  the  case  when  we  do  not  advance),  I  have  fallen  back. 
My  mind  is  filled  with  misgivings  and  doubts  and  perplexities  that 
leave  me  no  repose.  Of  the  necessity  for  forgiveness  I  have  the 
strongest  conviction  ;  but  I  cannot  receive  any  assurance  that  it  has 
been  accorded  to  me.     In  short,  I  am  in  the  worst  conceivable  situ- 


HOME— SOLITUDE.  37 

ation  as  its  respects  my  internal  peace  and  future  welfare.  I  want 
aid  ;  and  the  company  and  conversation  of  such  a  friend  as  yourself 
might  assist  in  dispelling,  for  a  time,  at  least,  the  gloom  that  de- 
presses me.  I  have  humbly  sought  comfort  where  alone  it  is  effectu- 
ally to  be  obtained,  but  without  success.  To  you  and  Mr.  Meade  I 
can  venture  to  write  in  this  style,  without  disguising  the  secret  work- 
ings of  my  heart.  I  wish  I  could  always  be  in  reach  of  you.  The 
solitude  of  my  own  dwelling  is  appalling  to  me.  Write  to  me,  and 
direct  to  Richmond." 

To  this  Mr.  Key  replied : 

"  As  we  could  not  confer  upon  the  subjects  you  mention,  we  must 
postpone  them  till  we  meet  again,  or  manage  them  in  writing ;  just 
as  you  please.  In  either  way  you  will  have  much  to  excuse  in  me  ; 
but  I  trust  you  will  find  within  yourself  a  counsellor  and  comforter 
who  will  guide  you  'into  all  peace.'  Desperate  indeed  would  be 
our  case,  if  we  had  nothing  better  to  lead  us  than  our  own  wisdom 
and  strength  or  the  experience  of  our  friends.  If,  notwithstanding 
all  your  doubts  and  misgivings,  you  are  sincerely  and  earnestly  desi- 
rous to  know  the  truth,  and  resolved  to  obey  it,  cost  what  it  may,  you 
have  the  promise  of  God  that  it  shall  be  revealed  to  you.  If  you  are 
convinced  you  are  a  sinner,  that  Christ  alone  can  save  you  from 
the  sentence  of  condemnation  incurred  by  your  sins,  and  from  the 
dominion  of  them  ;  if  you  make  an  entire  and  unconditional  surren- 
der of  yourself  to  his  service,  renouncing  that  of  the  world  and  of 
yourself;  if  you  thus  humbly  and  faithfully  come  to  him,  'he  will  in 
no  wise  cast  you  out.' 

"  You  can  do  much  for  the  cause  of  religion,  whatever  plan  of  life 
you  may  adopt ;  you  can  resolutely  and  thoroughly  bear  your  testi- 
mony in  its  favor.  You  can  adorn  its  doctrines,  and  so  preach  them 
most  powerfully  by  a  good  life.  You  can  be  seen  resisting  and  over- 
coming, in  the  strength  of  God,  the  powerful  and  uncommon  tempta- 
tions that  oppose  you  ;  and  your  light  can,  and,  I  trust,  will  shine 
far  and  brightly  around  you.  Do  not  be  disheartened  by  the  diffi- 
culties you  may  feel ;  they  are  experienced  by  all,  and  grace  and 
strength  to  overcome  them  are  offered  to  all.  The  change  from  dark- 
ness to  light,  from  death  to  life,  is  the  result  of  no  single  effort,  but 
of  constant  and  persevering,  and,  often,  painful  striving.  How  can 
it  be  otherwise  when  we  think  of  what  that  change  is  ?  It  finds  us 
'  dead  in  trespasses  and  sins,'  '  having  our  conversation  in  the  flesh,' 
'  fulfilling  the  desires  of  the  flesh  and  of  the  mind,'  '  children  of 
wrath,'  '  without  Christ.'  '  strangers  to  the  covenant  of  promise,' 
'  having  no  hope,  and  without  God  in  the  world :'  and  it  makes  us 
'  nigh  by  the  blood  of  Christ ;'  '  no  more  foreigners  and  strangers,  but 
fellow-citizens  with  the  saints  and  of  the  household  of  God;'  'justi- 
fied by  faith,  and  having  peace  with  God,  through   our  Lord  Jesus 


88  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

Christ.'     May  you  experience  this  change,  my  dear  friend,  in  all  its 
blessedness." 

r       Randolph  thus  replied  : 

'■  Roanoke,  June  16,  1816. 

"  Owing  to  the  incorrigible  negligence  of  the  postmaster  at  Rich- 
mond, I  did  not  get  your  letter  of  the  22d  of  last  month  until  this 
morning.  I  had  felt  some  surprise  at  not  hearing  from  you,  and  the 
delay  of  your  letter  served  but  to  enhance  its  value.  I  read  it  this 
morning  in  bed,  and  derived  great  consolation  from  the  frame  of  mind 
to  which  it  disposed  me.  My  time  has  been  a  wretched  one  since  I  saw 
you — dreary  and  desponding.  I  heard  Mr.  Hogue  yesterday  ;  and  dur- 
ing a  short  conversation,  riding  from  church,  he  told  me  that  he  believed 
that  there  were  times  and  seasons  when  all  of  us  were  overcome  by 
such  feelings  in  spite  of  our  best  efforts  against  them ;  efforts  which, 
however,  we  ought  by  no  means  to  relax,  since  they  tended  both  to  miti- 
gate the  degree  and  shorten  the  period  of  our  sufferings.  My  own 
case  (every  body,  no  doubt,  thinks  the  same)  appears  to  be  peculiarly 
miserable.  To  me  the  world  is  a  vast  desert,  and  there  is  no  merit 
in  renouncing  it,  since  there  is  no  difficulty.  There  never  was  a  time 
when  it  was  so  utterly  destitute  of  allurement  for  me.  The  difficulty 
with  me  is  to  find  some  motive  to  action — something  to  break  the 
sluggish  tenor  of  my  life.  I  look  back  upon  the  havoc  of  the  past 
year  asupon  a  bloody  field  of  battle,  where  my  friends  have  perished. 
I  look  out  towards  the  world,  and  find  a  wilderness,  peopled  indeed, 
but  not  with  flesh  and  blood — with  monsters  tearing  one  another  to 
pieces  for  money  or  power,  or  some  other  vile  lust.  Among  them 
will  be  found,  with  here  and  there  an  exception,  the  professors  of  the 
religion  of  meekness  and  love,  itself  too  often  made  the  bone  of  con- 
tention and  faction.  Is  it  not  strange  that  a  being  so  situated  should 
find  difficulty  in  renouncing  himself,  the  dominion  of  his  own  bad  pas- 
sions? To  such  an  one  another  and  a  better  world  is  a  necessary 
refuge,  and  yet  he  cannot  embrace  it. 

"  My  dear  friend,  it  is  very  unreasonable  that  I  should  throw  the 
burthen  of  my  black  and  dismal  thoughts  upon  you ;  but  they  so 
weigh  me  down  that  I  cannot  escape  from  them  ;  and  when  I  can 
speak  without  restraint,  they  will  have  vent." 

Mr.  Randolph  spent  the  summer  at  home  entirely  alone.  Dr. 
Dudley's  health  required  a  visit  to  the  Virginia  Springs,  where  he 
remained  during  the  season.  The  boys  were  at  school.  With 
the  exception  of  a  short  visit  to  Richmond,  he  did  not  leave  his 
own  plantation.  His  time  was  consumed  in  silence  and  in  solitude. 
There  can  be  no  question  that  this  entire  abstinence  from  human 
society — the  cheerful  face  of  man  and  woman — the  morning  saluta- 


DYING,  SIR— DYING.  89 

tion  and  the  evening  converse  with  friends  loving  and  beloved — had  a 
pernicious  influence  on  his  health,  his  mind,  and  his  temper. 

No  man  enjoyed  with  a  higher  relish  the  intellectual  and  polished 
society  of  those  friends,  men  and  women,  whom  he  had  endeared  to 
him  by  the  strongest  ties  of  affection,  no  man  felt  more  keenly  its  ab- 
sence. Yet  it  seems  to  have  been  his  lot  to  live  in  solitude  ;  so  few 
understood  him  ! 

On  the  25th  of  October  he  thus  writes  to  Mr.  Key  : 

"  If  your  life  is  so  unsatisfactory  to  you,  what  must  that  of  others 
be  to  them  1  For  my  part,  if  there  breathes  a  creature  more  empty 
of  enjoyment  than  myself,  I  sincerely  pity  him.  My  opinions  seem 
daily  to  become  more  unsettled,  and  the  awful  mystery  which  shrouds 
the  future  alone  renders  the  present  tolerable.  The  darkness  of  my 
hours,  so  far  from  having  passed  away,  has  thickened  into  the  deepest 
gloom.  I  try  not  to  think,  by  moulding  my  mind  upon  the  thoughts 
of  others  ;  but  to  little  purpose.  Have  you  ever  read  Zimmerman 
on  Solitude  %  I  do  not  mean  the  popular  cheap  book  under  that 
title,  but  another,  in  which  solitude  is  considered  with  respect  to  its 
dangerous  influence  upon  the  mind  and  the  heart.  I  have  been 
greatly  pleased  with  it  for  a  few  hours.  It  is  a  mirror  that  reflects 
the  deformity  of  the  human  mind  to  whomsoever  will  look  into  it. 

"  Dudley  is  with  me.  He  returned  about  a  month  ago  from  our 
Springs,  and  I  think  he  has  benefited  by  the  waters.  He  returns 
your  salutation  most  cordially.  We  have  been  lounging  a  la  Virgini- 
anne,  at  the  house  of  a  friend,  about  a  day  and  a  half's  ride  off.  In 
a  few  days  I  shall  return  to  the  same  neighborhood,  not  in  pussuit  of 
pleasure,  but  pursued  by  ennui." 


CHAPTEE    VIII. 


DYING,    SIR — DYING. 


The  session  of  Congress  which  terminated  the  4th  of  March,  1817, 
presents  nothing  of  much  public  interest.  The  most  remarkable  act 
of  the  session  is  the  compensation  law,  as  it  was  called,  by  which 
members  voted  themselves  a  fixed  salary  for  their  services,  instead  of 
the  usual  per  diem  allowance. 

Mr.  Randolph's  half  brother,  Henry  St.  George  Tucker,  was  a 


90  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

member  of  this  Congress.  On  his  way  to  Washington  he  was  upset 
in  the  stage — had  his  shoulder  dislocated,  and  in  other  respects  was 
much  injured.  So  soon  as  the  news  of  this  accident  reached  him, 
Mr.  Randolph  hastened  to  the  bedside  of  his  brother,  and  on  his 
return  to  Washington  wrote  the  following  letter  : 

"  I  have  been  very  unwell  since  I  left  you,  but  not  in  consequence 
of  my  journey  to  your  bedside.  On  the  contrary  I  believe  I  am  the 
better  for  it  in  every  respect.  A  wide  gulf  has  divided  us,  of  time 
and  place  and  circumstance.  Our  lot  has  been  different,  very  differ- 
ent indeed.  I  am  '  the  last  of  the  family ' — of  my  family  at  least — 
and  I  am  content  that  in  my  person  it  should  become  extinct.  In 
the  rapid  progress  of  time  and  of  events,  it  will  quickly  disappear 
from  the  eye  of  observation,  and  whatsoever  of  applause  or  disgrace 
it  may  have  acquired  in  the  eyes  of  man,  will  weigh  but  little  in  the 
estimation  of  Him  by  whose  doom  the  everlasting  misery  or  happi- 
ness of  our  condition  is  to  be  irrevocably  fixed.  '  We  are  indeed 
clay  in  the  potter's  hands.'  " 

Mr.  Randolph's  health  during  this  winter  was  wretched  in  the 
extreme  ;  more  especially  towards  the  close.  The  reader  is  already 
aware  of  his  determination  "  to  wash  his  hands  of  politics  " — he  had 
announced  to  his  friends  that  he  would  not  be  a  candidate  again  for 
Congress.  On  Saturday  night,  February  8th,  he  wrote  to  Dr. 
Dudley — 

"  Your  letter  of  the  2d  was  put  into  my  hands  this  morning,  just 
as  I  was  about  to  make  my  last  dying  speech."  The  next  Tuesday 
he  says — "  I  scribbled  a  few  lines  to  you  on  Saturday  evening  last, 
at  which  time  I  was  laboring  under  the  effects  of  fresh  cold,  taken 
in  going  to  and  coming  from  the  House,  where  I  delivered  my  valedic- 
tory. It  was  nearer  being,  than  I  then  imagined,  a  valedictory  to  this 
world.  That  night,  and  the  next  day  and  night,  I  hung  suspended 
between  two  worlds,  and  had  a  much  nearer  glimpse  than  I  have  ever 
yet  taken  of  the  other. 

"  That  I  have  written  this  letter  with  effort  will  be  apparent  from 
the  face  of  it.  I  am  not  ashamed  to  confess  that  it  has  cost  me  some 
bitter  tears — but  they  are  not  the  tears  of  remorse.  They  flow  from 
the  workings  of  a  heart  known  only  to  Him  unto  whom  the  prayers 
and  the  groans  of  the  miserable  ascend.  I  feel  that  in  this  world  I 
am  alone — that  all  my  efforts  (ill-judged  and  misdirected  I  am  wil- 
ling to  allow  they  must  have  been)  have  proved  abortive.  What 
remains  of  my  life  must  be  spent  in  a  cold  and  heartless  intercourse 
with  mankind,  compared  with  which  the  solitude  of  Robinson  Crusoe 
was  bliss.  I  have  no  longer  a  friend.  Do  not  take  this  unkindly,  for 
it  is  not  meant  so.     On  this  subject,  as  well  as  on  some  others,  per- 


DYING,  SIR— DYING.  91 

haps,  I  have  been  an  enthusiast — but  I  know  neither  how  to  concili- 
ate the  love  nor  to  command  the  esteem  of  mankind  ;  and  like  the 
officious  ass  in  the  fable,  must  bear  the  blows  inflicted  on  my  pre- 
sumption. May  God  bless  you,  my  brother.  You  have  found  the 
peace  of  this  world.  May  you  find  that  of  the  world  to  come,  which 
passeth  all  understanding.  If  it  be  his  good  pleasure,  we  may  meet 
again  ;  if  not  in  this  life,  in  life  everlasting,  where  all  misunderstand- 
ing and  misinterpretation  shall  be  at  an  end  ;  and  the  present  delu- 
sions of  self  appear  in  their  proper  and  vile  deformity,  and  the  busy 
cares  and  sorrows  which  now  agitate  and  distress  us  seem  more  trivial 
than  the  tears  of  infancy — succeeded,  not  by  transient,  but  everlast- 
ing sunshine  of  the  heart.     Amen,  and  so  let  it  be. 

John  Randolph  of  Roanoke. 

Jan.  21,  1817.     Tuesday. 

Sunday  morning. — I  have  been  reading  Lear  these  two  days,  and 
incline  to  prefer  it  to  all  Shakspeare's  plays.  In  that  and  Timon  only, 
it  has  been  said,  the  bard  was  in  earnest.  Read  both — the  first  espe- 
cially. 

Tuesday,  Feb.  18th. — "I  had  hardly  finished  my  last  letter  (Sun- 
day the  16th)  to  you,  when  I  was  seized  by  spasms  that  threatened 
soon  to  terminate  all  my  earthly  cares  ;  although  the  two  nights  since 
have  been  passed  almost  entirely  without  sleep,  I  am  much  better." 

Sunday,  February  23d. — "  The  worst  night  that  I  have  had  since 
my  indisposition  commenced.  It  was,  I  believe,  a  case  of  croup,  com- 
bined with  the  affection  of  the  liver  and  the  lungs.  Nor  was  it  un- 
like tetanus,  since  the  muscles  of  the  neck  and  back  were  rigid,  and 
the  jaw  locked.  I  never  expected,  when  the  clock  struck  two,  to 
hear  the  bell  again  ;  fortunately,  as  I  found  myself  going,  I  dispatched 
a  servant  (about  one)  to  the  apothecary  for  an  ounce  of  laudanum. 
Some  of  this  poured  down  my  throat,  through  my  teeth,  restored  me 
to  something  like  life.  I  was  cpuite  delirious,  but  had  method  in  my 
madness  :  for  they  tell  me  I  ordered  Juba  to  load  my  gun  and  to 
shoot  the  first  "doctor"  that  should  enter  the  room;  adding,  they  are 
only  mustard  seed,  and  will  serve  just  to  sting  him.  Last  night  I 
was  again  very  sick ;  but  the  anodyne  relieved  me.  I  am  now  per- 
suaded that  I  might  have  saved  myself  a  great  deal  of  suffering  by 
the  moderate  use  of  opium.  This  day  week,  when  racked  with  cramps 
and  spasms,  my  "  doctors"  (I  had  two)  prescribed  (or  rather,  admin- 
istered) half  a  glass  of  Madeira.  Half  a  drop  of  rain  water  would 
have  been  as  efficient.  On  Tuesday,  Wednesday,  and  Thursday,  I 
attended  the  House ;  brought  out  the  first  day  by  the  explosion  of 
the  motion  to  repeal  the  internal  taxes  ;  and  the  following  days  by 
some  other  circumstances  that  I  will  not  now  relate.  Knocked  up 
completely  by  the  exertion,  instead  of  recalling  my  physicians,  I  took 
my  own  case  boldly  in  hand ;  took  one  and  a  half  grains  of  calomel ; 


92  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

on  Tuesday  night  and  yesterday  using  mercurial  friction.  The  liver 
is  again  performing  its  functions,  and  I  am,  this  evening,  decidedly 
better  than  I  have  been  since  the  first  attack,  which  I  may  date  from 
my  fall  at  Mr.  T.'s,  on  Tuesday,  the  21st  of  January.  From  that  pe- 
riod, the  operations  of  the  liver  have  been  irregular  and  disturbed. 
I  conceive  the  lungs  to  be  affected  by  sympathy,  with  the  other  viscus. 
I  have  taken  from  five  to  ten  grains  of  the  hypercarbonated  natron 
every  day,  most  generally  five  grains,  in  a  tablespoonful  of  new  milk, 
sometimes  repeating  the  dose  at  night.  My  drink  has  been  slippery 
elm  tea  and  lemonade.  Appetite  for  acids  very  strong.  Severe 
pains  in  the  fasciae  of  the  legs  and  the  tendons,  just  above  the  outer 
ankle  bone ;  also,  knees,  &c.  I  have  taken,  from  the  first,  a  pill  of 
one  and  a  half  grains  of  calomel  about  two,  sometimes  three  times  a 
week  ;  and  several  doses  of  Cheltenham  salts.  I  have  used  the  vola- 
tile liniment  for  my  throat  and  limbs ;  also,  gargles  of  sage  tea,  bo- 
rax, &c. 

Mrs.  John  M.,  Mrs.  B.,  and  Mrs.  F.  K.,  have  been  very  kind  in 
sending  me  jellies,  lemons,  &c.,  &c.  Thomas  M.  N.  has  been  ex- 
tremely attentive  and  obliging.  Mr.  K.  of  New  York,  Mr.  Chief 
Justice,  Mr.  H.  of  Maryland,  Mr.  M.  of  South  Carolina,  Mr.  B.  of 
Georgetown,  (I  need  not  name  Frank  Key.)  M.  (no  longer  Abbe)  C. 
de  S.,  and  D,  have  been  very  kind  in  their  attentions.  Mr.  M.  sent 
me  some  old,  choice  Madeira,  and  his  man  cook  to  dress  my  rice  (a 
mystery  not  understood  any  where  on  this  side  of  Cape  Fear  river), 
sending  also  the  rice  to  be  dressed  ;  and  Mr.  Chief  Justice  came  to 
assist  me  in  drawing  up  my  will — which  I  had  strangely  and  crimi- 
nally neglected  for  some  time  past,  and  of  which  neglect  I  was  more 
strangely  admonished  in  a  dream." 

About  this  time,  says  Mr.  Win.  H.  Boane,  who  was  a  member  of 
Congress  from  Virginia  during  the  session  of  1816-17,  "I  remem- 
ber that  one  morning  Mr.  Lewis  came  into  the  House  of  Bepre- 
sentatives  and  addressed  Mr.  Tyler  and  myself,  who  were  the  youngest 
members  from  Virginia,  and  said  we  must  go  to  Georgetown  to  Mr. 
Bandolph.  We  asked  for  what ;  he  said  that  Mr.  Bandolph  had  told 
him  that  he  was  determined  not  to  be  buried  as  beau  Dawson  had 
been,  at  the  public  expense,  and  he  had  selected  us  young  bloods  to 
come  to  him  and  take  charge  of  his  funeral.  We  went  over  imme- 
diately. When  we  entered  Mr.  Bandolplrs  apartments  he  was  in 
his  morning  gown.  He  rose  and  shook  us  by  the  hand.  On  our  in- 
quiries after  his  health,  he  said,  '  Dying  !  dying  !  dying  !  in  a  dread- 
ful state.'  He  inquired  what  was  going  on  in  Congress.  We  told 
him  that  the  galleries  were  filling  with  people  of  the  District,  and 


DYING,  SIR— DYING.  93 

that  there  was  considerable  excitement  on  the  re-chartering  of  the 
batch  of  banks  in  the  District.  He  then  broke  off  and  commenced 
upon  another  subject,  and  pronounced  a  glowing  eulogium  upon  the 
character  and  talents  of  Patrick  Henry.  After  sitting  for  some  time, 
and  nothing  being  said  on  the  business  on  which  we  had  been  sent  to 
him,  we  rose  and  took  our  leave.  When  we  got  to  the  door,  I  said, 
'I  wish,  Mr.  Randolph,  you  could  be  in  the  House  to-day.'  He  shook 
his  head — '  Dying,  sir,  dying  !'  When  we  had  got  back  to  the  House 
of  Representatives,  Mr.  Lewis  came  in  and  asked  how  we  had  found 
Mr.  Randolph.  We  laughed  and  said  as  well  as  usual — that  we  had 
spent  a  very  pleasant  morning  with  him,  and  been  much  amused  by 
his  conversation.  Scarcely  a  moment  after,  Mr.  Lewis  exclaimed, 
'  There  he  is !'  and  there  to  be  sure  he  was.  He  had  entered  by 
another  door,  having  arrived  at  the  Capitol  almost  as  soon  as  we  did. 
In  a  few  moments  he  rose  and  commenced  a  speech,  the  first  sentence 
of  which  I  can  repeat  verbatim. — '  Mr.  Speaker,'  said  he,  '  this  is 
Shrove  Tuesday.  Many  a  gallant  cock  has  died  in  the  pit  on  this 
day,  and  I  have  come  to  die  in  the  pit  also.'  He  then  went  on  with 
his  speech,  and  after  a  short  time  turned  and  addressed  the  crowd  of 
'  hungry  expectants,'  as  he  called  them — tellers,  clerks,  and  porters  in 
the  gallery." 

Mr.  Randolph  left  Washington  the  day  after  Mr.  Monroe's  inau- 
guration. "  No  mitigation  of  my  cruel  symptoms  took  place  until 
the  third  day  of  my  journey,  when  I  threw  physic  to  the  dogs,  and 
instead  of  opium,  tincture  of  columbo,  hypercarbonate  of  soda,  &c, 
&c,  I  drank,  in  defiance  of  my  physician's  prescription,  copiously  of 
cold  spring  water,  and  ate  plentifully  of  ice.  Since  that  change  of  re- 
gimen my  strength  has  increased  astonishingly,  and  I  have  even 
gained  some  flesh,  or  rather,  skin.  The  first  day,  Wednesday  the  5th, 
I  could  travel  no  farther  than  Alexandria.  At  Dumfries,  where  I 
lay,  but  slept  not,  on  Thursday  night,  I  had  nearly  given  up  the  ghost. 
At  a  spring,  five  miles  on  this  side,  after  crossing  Chappawamsick,  I 
took,  upon  an  empty  and  sick  stomach,  upwards  of  a  pint  of  living 
water,  unmixed  with  Madeira,  which  I  have  not  tasted  since.  It  was 
the  first  thing  that  I  had  taken  into  my  stomach  since  the  first  of  Feb- 
ruary that  did  not  produce  nausea.  It  acted  like  a  charm,  and  enabled 
me  to  get  on  to  B.'s  that  night,  where  I  procured  ice.  I  also  devoured 
with  impunity  a  large  pippin  (forbidden  fruit  to  me).     Next  day  I 


94  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

got  to  the  Oaks,  forty-two  miles.  Here  I  was  more  unwell  than  the 
night  before.  On  Sunday  morning  I  reached  my  friends,  Messrs.  A. 
&  Co.,  to  breakfast,  at  half  past  eight." 

On  the  road  between  the  Boiling  Green  and  Fredericksburg, 
he  came  up  with  the  stage  with  Mr.  Roane  and  other  members  of 
Congress  on  their  homeward  journey.  As  he  drew  up  his  phaeton 
along  side  the  stage,  Mr.  Roane  called  out,  "  How  are  you,  Mr.  Ran- 
dolph ?"  "  Dying,  sir,  dying  !"  and  then  dashed  off  and  out  travelled 
the  stage. 

He  was,  indeed,  much  nearer  dying  than  his  friends  imagined. 
Shortly  after  his  arrival  in  Richmond  he  was  taken  very  ill,  and  lay 
for  many  weeks  utterly  prostrate  and  helpless  at  the  house  of  Mr. 
Cunningham,  in  that  city.  In  after  years  he  often  recurred  to  this 
period  as  the  time  of  his  greatest  prostration.  March  3d,  1824,  he 
says,  "  You  have  no  idea  how  very  feeble  I  am.  I  crawled  yesterday 
to  P.  Thompson's  bookseller's  shop,  butcould  not  get  back  afoot. 
The  vis  vitas  has  not  been  lower  with  me  since  the  spring  of  1817. 
How  well  I  recollect  this  very  day  of  that  year  !" 


CHAPTEE    IX. 

CONVERSION. 

For  a  long  time  the  state  of  Mr.  Randolph's  health  was  such  that  he 

confined  himself  entirely  at  home,  and  even  ceased  correspondence 

with  his  friends,  which  at  all  times  constituted  his  principal  source  of 

enjoyment.     His  first  attempt  was  the  following  letter  addressed  to 

his  friend  Key : 

Roanoke,  Feb.  9,  1818. 

Dear  Frank  :  A  long  while  ago  I  wrote  to  you  in  reply  to  the 
only  letter  that  I  have  received  for  many,  many  months.  I  know 
that  you  have  something  better  to  do  than  to  be  scribbling  to  me ; 
but  I  beg  you  to  take  my  case  into  your  special  consideration.  I  am 
as  much  out  of  the  world  as  if  I  were  in  Kamtschatka  or  Juan  Fer- 
nandez— without  a  single  neighbor,  confined  by  my  infirmities  often 
to  the  house,  and  disabled  by  them  from  attendiag  to  my  affairs, 
which  might  give  me  amusement  and  employment  at  the  same  time. 


CONVERSION.  95 

The  state  of  manners  around  me  cannot  be  paralleled,  I  believe,  on 
the  face  of  the  earth — all  engaged  with  unremitting  devotion  in  the 
worship  of 

"  The  least  erected  spirit 
That  fell  from  heaven." 

This  pursuit  I  know  to  be  general  throughout  the  land,  and,  indeed, 
I  fear  throughout  the  world ;  but  elsewhere  it  is  tempered  by  the 
spirit  of  society,  and  even  by  a  love  of  ostentation  or  of  pleasure. 
Here  it  reigns  undivided.  There  is  no  intercourse  but  of  business  ; 
and  a  man  who  will  ride  more  miles  for  a  shilling  than  a  post-boy, 
will  hardly  go  one  to  visit  a  sick  neighbor.  *  *  *  *  I  am  afraid  you 
will  consider  the  foregoing  as  no  proof  of  what  I  am  about  to  add  ; 
but  let  me  assure  you  that  there  is  nothing  personal  between  these 
"  poor  rich  men"  and  me  ;  on  the  contrary,  I  feel  toward  them  only 
pity  and  good  will,  and  let  no  occasion  pass  without  manifesting  the 
latter  disposition. 

I  think  that  the  state  of  solitude  and  dereliction  in  which  I  am 
placed,  has  not  been  without  some  good  effect  in  giving  me  better 
views  than  I  have  had  of  the  most  important  of  all  subjects ;  and  I 
would  not  exchange  it,  comfortless  as  it  is,  for  the  heartless  inter- 
course of  the  world.  I  know  that  "  if  a  man  says  he  loves  God,  and 
hates  his  brother,  he  is  a  liar;"  but  I  do  not  hate  my  brethren  of  the 
human  family.  I  fear,  however,  that  I  cannot  love  them  as  I  ought. 
But  God.  I  hope  and  trust,  will  in  his  good  time  put  better  disposi- 
tions into  my  heart.  There  are  few  of  them,  I  am  persuaded,  more 
undeserving  of  love  than  I  am. 

March  2.  Every  day  brings  with  it  new  evidences  of  my  weak- 
ness and  utter  inability,  of  myself,  to  do  any  good  thing,  or  even  to 
conceive  a  single  good  thought.  With  the  unhappy  father  in  the 
Gospel,  I  cry  out,  "  Lord !  I  believe,  help  thou  mine  unbelief." 
When  I  think  of  the  goodness,  and  wisdom,  and  power  of  God,  I  seem, 
in  my  own  eyes,  a  devil  in  all  but  strength.  I  say  this  to  you,  who 
will  not  ascribe  it  to  affected  humility.  Sometimes  I  have  better 
views,  but  again  I  am  weighed  down  to  the  very  earth,  or  lost  in  a 
labyrinth  of  doubts  and  perplexities.  The  hardness  of  my  own 
heart  grieves  and  astonishes  me.  Then,  again,  I  settle  down  in  a 
state  of  coldness  and  indifference,  which  is  worse  than  all.  But  the 
quivering  of  our  frail  flesh,  often  the  effect  of  physical  causes,  cannot 
detract  from  the  mercy  of  our  Creator,  and  to  him  I  commit  myself. 
"  Thy  will  be  done  !"  " 

M does  not  "give  me  all  the  news,"  nor,  indeed,  any  for  a 

long  time  past.  At  the  commencement  of  the  session  of  Congress,  he 
wrote  pretty  frequently,  and  through  him  I  heard  of  you.  It  would 
delight  me  very  much  to  spend  a  few  weeks  with  you.  I  would  even 
try  to  be  an  usher  in  your  school.     [Mr.  Key  was  teaching  his  own 


96  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

children.]  At  least,  I  could  teach  the  younger  children  to  read. 
Give  my  love  to  them  all,  and  to  their  mother.  1  had  a  sister  once, 
and  I  never  think  of  her  without  being  reminded  of  Mrs.  Key. 

I  have  not  read  Cunningham's  poem.  Is  it  the  author  of  "  The 
Velvet  Cushion  ?"  I  have  lately  met  with  an  entertaining  work  from 
the  pen  of  an  English  Jacobin,  Hazlitt's  Character  of  Shakspeare  ; 
and  have  tried  to  read  Coleridge's  Literary  Life.  There  are  fine  pas- 
sages, but  his  mysticism  is  too  deep  for  me.  I  have  seen,  too,  a  ro- 
mance, called  the  Life  of  Patrick  Henry — a  wretched  piece  of  fus- 
tian. 

I  have  not  turned  entirely  a  savage,  although  a  man  of  the 
woods,  and  almost  wild.  Bodily  motion  seems  to  be  some  relief  to 
mental  uneasiness,  and  I  was  delighted  yesterday  morning  to  hear 
that  the  snipes  are  come.  On  this  subject  of  mental  malady,  it  ap- 
pears that  madness  is  almost  epidemic  among  us.  Many  cases  have 
appeared  in  Petersburg  and  elsewhere.  In  this  county  we  had  a 
preacher  of  the  Methodist  sect  (not  itinerant),  a  man  of  excellent 
character  and  very  good  sense.  He  was  generally  esteemed,  and  al- 
though quite  poor,  by  the  aid  of  a  notable  wife  lived  neatly  and  com- 
fortably. Last  winter  the  clerk  of  our  county  died,  and  this  preacher, 
by  diligent  canvass,  got  the  place  by  one  vote,  in  a  court  of  more  than 
twenty  magistrates.  From  the  time  that  he  commenced  his  canvass 
his  manners  changed.  A  still  further  change  was  perceptible  after 
he  got  the  office ;  and  -a  few  weeks  ago  he  got  quite  insane.  His 
friends  set  off  with  him  on  a  journey  to  Georgia.  But  the  first  night 
he  gave  them  the  slip,  and  is  supposed  to  have  drowned  himself.  I 
heard  yesterday  that  a  party  were  out  seeking  for  him.  He  had  taken 
laudanum  for  the  purpose  of  suicide,  but  his  stomach  would  not  re- 
tain it.  Some  ascribe  his  malady  to  remorse,  others  to  the  effects  of 
sudden  prosperity.  This  county  seems  to  labor  under  a  judgment. 
It  has  been  conspicuous  for  the  order  and  morality  of  the  inhabit- 
ants ;  and  such  is  the  general  character,  I  hope,  yet.  But  within 
two  or  three  years  past  it  has  been  the  theatre  of  crimes  of  the 
deepest  atrocity.  Within  a  few  months  there  have  occurred  two  in- 
stances of  depravity,  the  most  shocking  that  can  be  conceived.  But 
I  am  giving  you  a  county  history,  instead  of  a  letter.  Farewell,  my 
dear  friend  ;  while  I  have  life  I  am  yours. 

Richmond,  April  29,  1818. 

Dear  Frank — On  my  arrival  here  the  day  before  yesterday,  I 
found  the  picture  and  the  picture-frame  which  poor  L.  left  for  me. 

Wood  has  again  failed,  but  not  so  entirely  as  at  first.  It  is  you 
in  some  of  your  humors,  but  neither  your  serious  nor  more  cheerful 
face.  It  shall  hang,  however,  near  my  bed,  and  I  hope  will  prove  a 
benefit  as  well  as  a  pleasure  to  me.     My  love  to  Mrs.  Key.    I  hope 


CONVERSION.  97 

she  has  presented  you  with  a  better  likeness  of  yourself  than  any 
painter  can  draw.  If  I  could  envy  you,  I  should  covet  one  of  your 
boys,  and.  perhaps,  one  of  your  girls  too,  if  I  were  not  so  old. . 

I  have  "  read  Manfred,"  and  was  overpowered  by  the  intense 
misery  of  the  writer.  Unless  he  shall  seek  refuge  above,  where  alone  it 
is  to  be  found,  it  is  to  be  feared  madness,  perhaps  suicide,  is  his  portion. 
It  created  in  me  the  strongest  interest  for  the  unhappy  author,  and  I 
actually  projected  writing  him  a  letter,  such  a  one  as  could  have  dis- 
pleased no  man,  and  might,  perhaps,  have  done  good.  The  air  of  pre- 
sumption which  such  a  step  might  carry  with  it  made  me  drop  the 
"  notion." 

I  have  long  been  satisfied  in  my  own  mind  respecting  the  princi- 
ples, political,  moral,  and  religious,  of  the  journal  you  mention.  I 
suspect  Franklin's  were  not  very  different.  I  am  gratified,  however, 
at  this  castigation  of  that  caricature  of  a  caricature,  Phillips.  He 
"  out-Currans"  Curran. 

I  do  not  take,  but  shall  order  the  Christian  Observer.     I  have 

seen  many  of  the  numbers,  and  found  them  admirable. 

"  Fare  thee  well,  and  if  for  ever, 
Still  for  ever  fare  thee  well." 

I  regret  the  stifling  of  your  poetical  bantling.  Can't  you  send  me 
some  of  the  "  disjecta  membra  ?"  There  is  no  need  of  a  bottle  of  spirits 
of  wine  to  preserve  them  in  apothecary  fashion.  On  reaching  this 
place,  I  found  my  poor  nephew,  who  has  been  a  tenant  of  the  man- 
sion that  inspired  your  muse.  Sir  P.  Francis  is  not  Junius,  the 
reviewer  to  the  contrary  notwithstanding. 

On  his  return  from  Richmond,  Mr.  Randolph  sank  down  into  the 
deepest  melancholy  ;  some  even  allege  that  it  amounted  to  an  aberra- 
tion of  mind — to  positive  delirium.  The  reader  is  aware  that  for  years 
previous  to  this  time,  the  deepest  gloom,  lasting  many  days  in  succes- 
sion, overshadowed  his  mind,  evincing  the  existence  of  some  corroding 
care,  for  which  he  neither  sought,  nor  would  receive,  any' sympathy. 

The  subject  of  religion  had  become  the  all-absorbing  theme 
of  his  meditations.  God,  freedom,  and  immortality  ;  sin,  death,  and 
the  grave  ;  Christ,  redemption,  and  free  grace,  are  "  high  matters," 
well  calculated,  at  any  time,  to  disturb  the  strongest  intellect. 

But  when  we  come  to  consider  the  solitude  in  which  he  lived, 
the  emaciated  condition  of  his  delicate  frame,  worn  down  by  long  and 
torturing  disease,  the  irritable  state  of  his  nervous  system — "  he  was 
almost  like  a  man  without  a  skin" — the  constant  and  sleepless  excite- 
ment of  his  mental  faculties  and  of  his  brilliant  imagination  induced 
by  this  morbid  irritability ;  when  we  throw  ourselves  into  his  condi- 

VOL.  II.  5 


98  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

tion,  and  conceive  of  the  crowd  of  burning  thoughts  that  pressed  upon 
his  mind,  pass  in  melancholy  review  the  many  friends  that  had  been 
torn  from  him  by  the  hand  of  death,  the  many  who  had  forgotten  him 
and  forsaken  him  as  a  fallen  man,  no  longer  serviceable  to  them  ;  call  to 
remembrance  that  his  own  father's  house  was  desolate,  St.  George  in 
the  mad-house,  himself,  like  Logan,  alone  in  his  cabin,  without  a  drop 
of  his  father's  blood  save  that  which  coursed  in  his  own  well-nigh  ex- 
hausted veins ;  and,  above  all,  when  we  call  to  remembrance  his  first, 
his  youthful,  and  his  only  love,  which  is  said  to  have  greatly  revived 
in  his  mind  at  this  time  with  the  painful  yet  hallowed  associations 
that  clustered  around  its  cherished  memory,  who  can  wonder  that  a 
man,  with  the  temperament  of  John  Randolph,  under  these  circum- 
stances should  fling  away  all  restraint,  and  should  cry  aloud  in  the 
anguish  of  his  soul,  and  should  so  act  and  speak  as  to  excite  the 
astonishment  of  those  around,  and  induce  them  to  believe  that  he 
was  a  madman  !  In  a  similar  situation  David  was  a  madman  ;  Byron 
was  a  madman ;  Rousseau — all  high-souled,  deep-feeling  men  of 
genius,  in  the  eye  of  the  world  were  madmen. 

Dr.  Dudley  says,  that  for  many  weeks  his  conduct  towards  him- 
self, who  was  the  only  inmate  of  his  household,  had  been  marked  by 
contumelious  indignities,  which  required  almost  heroic  patience  to 
endure,  even  when  aided  by  a  warm  and  affectionate  devotion,  and  an 
anxious  wish  to  alleviate  the  agonies  of  such  a  mind.  All  hope  of 
attaining  this  end,  he  says,  finally  failed,  and  he  announced  to  Mr. 
Randolph  his  determination  no  longer  to  remain  with  him.  Mr. 
Randolph  then  addressed  him  the  following  letter,  so  full  of  affec- 
tion and  tenderness,  that  it  shows  his  best  friends  did  not  understand 
him,  and  that  in  his  dark  days  of  horror,  when  caprice  and  petulance 
marked  his  conduct,  they  did  him  a  cimel  injustice  by  supposing  that 
the  harsh  expression  or  extravagant  conduct,  forced  out  by  the  an- 
guish of  his  soul,  was  really  intended  as  a  premeditated  injury  to 
their  feelings. 

"August,  1818. 

"  I  consider  myself  under  obligations  to  you  that  I  can  never  re- 
pay. I  have  considered  you  as  a  blessing  sent  to  me  by  Providence, 
in  my  old  age,  to  repay  the  desertion  of  my  other  friends  and  nearer 
connections.  It  is  in  your  power  (if  you  please)  to  repay  me  all  the 
debt  of  gratitude  that  you  insist  upon  being  due  to  me ;  although  I 
consider  myself,  in  a  pecuniary  point  of  view,   largely  a  gainer  by 


CONVERSION.  99 

our  connection.  But  if  you  are  unwilling  to  do  so,  I  must  be  content 
to  give  up  my  last  stay  upon  earth  ;  for  I  shall,  in  that  case,  send  the 
boys  to  their  parents.  Without  you,  I  cannot  live  here  at  all,  and 
will  not.  What  it  is  that  has  changed  your  manner  towards  me,  I 
cannot  discover.  I  have  ascribed  it  to  the  disease  (hypochondriasis) 
by  which  you  are  afflicted,  and  which  affects  the  mind  and  temper,  as 
well  as  the  animal  faculties.  In  your  principles,  I  have  as  unbounded 
confidence  as  I  have  in  those  of  any  man  on  earth.  Your  disinterest- 
edness, integrity,  and  truth,  would  extort  my  esteem  and  respect,  even 
if  I  were  disposed  to  withhold  them.  I  love  you  as  my  own  son — would 
to  God  you  were  !  I  see,  I  think,  into  your  heart — mine  is  open 
before  you,  if  you  will  look  into  it.  Nothing  could  ever  eradicate 
this  affection,  which  surpasses  that  of  any  other  person  (as  I  believe) 
on  earth.  Your  parents  have  other  children — I  have  only  you. 
But  I  see  you  wearing  out  your  time  and  wasting  away  in  this  desert, 
where  you  have  no  society  such  as  your  time  of  life,  habits,  and  taste 
require.  I  have  looked  at  you  often  engaged  in  contributing  to  my 
advantage  and  comfort,  with  tears  in  my  eyes,  and  thought  I  was  self- 
ish and  cruel  in  sacrificing  you  to  my  interest.  I  am  going  from 
home  ;  will  you  take  care  of  my  affairs  until  I  return  ?  I  ask  it  as  a 
favor.  It  is  possible  that  we  may  not  meet  again  ;  but,  if  I  get  more 
seriously  sick  at  the  springs  than  I  am  now,  I  will  send  for  you,  un- 
less you  will  go  with  me  to  the  White  Sulphur  Springs.  Wherever 
I  am,  my  heart  will  love  you  as  long  as  it  beats.  From  your  boy- 
hood I  have  not  been  lavish  of  reproof  upon  you.  Recollect  my 
past  life." 

Mr.  Randolph  set  out  on  his  journey  to  the  Springs — spent  some 
days  in  Lynchburg — went  as  far  as  Bottetourt  County — ascended 
the  Peaks  of  Otter,  the  highest  point  of  the  Blue  Ridge  Mountains 
in  Virginia — and  then  returned  home  to  Roanoke.  There  seems  to 
have  been  a  total  change  in  his  mind  about  this  time.  From  the 
deepest  gloom  and  despondency,  he  seems  to  have  attained  clearness 
and  satisfaction  on  the  subject  of  religion.  He  said  they  wanted  him 
to  go  to  the  Springs,  but  he  had  found  a  spring  here,  on  this  hill  (Roa- 
noke), more  efficacious — a  well — a  fountain  of  living  waters.  He 
thus  writes  to  Mr.  Key : 

Roanoke,  Sept,  7,  1818. 
Congratulate  me,  dear  Frank — wish  me  joy  you  need  not ;  give 
it  you  cannot — I  am  at  last  reconciled  to  my  God,  and  have  assur- 
ance of  his  pardon,  through  faith  in  Christ,  against  which  the  very 
gates  of  hell  cannot  prevail.  Fear  hath  been  driven  out  by  perfect 
love.     I  now  know  that  you  know  how  I  feel ;  and  within  a  month, 


100  LIFE  0F  J0HN  RANDOLPH. 

for  the  first  time,  I  understand  your  feelings  and  character,  and  that 
of  every  real  Christian.     Love  to  Mrs.  Key  and  your  brood. 

I  am  not  now  afraid  of  being  "  righteous  overmuch,"  or  of 
"  Methodistical  notions." 

Thine,  in  Truth, 

J.  R.  of  R. 

Let  Meade  know  the  glad  tidings,  and  let  him,  if  he  has  kept  it, 
read  and  preserve  my  letter  to  him  from  Richmond  years  ago. 

He  thus  writes  to  Dr.  Brockenbrough : 

September  25. 

My  good  Friend, — I  am  sorry  that  Quashee  should  intrude 
upon  you  unreasonably.  The  old  man,  I  suppose,  knows  the  pleasure 
I  take  in  your  letters,  and  therefore  feels  anxious  to  procure  his  mas- 
ter the  gratification.  I  cannot,  however,  express  sorrow — for  I  do 
not  feel  it — at  the  impression  which  you  tell  me  my  last  letter  made 
upon  you.  May  it  lead  to  the  same  happy  consequences  that  I  have 
experienced — which  I  now  feel — in  that  sunshine  of  the  heart, 
which  the  peace  of  God,  that  passeth  all  understanding,  alone  can 
bestow ! 

Your  imputing  such  sentiments  to  a  heated  imagination  does  not 
surprise  me,  who  have  been  bred  in  the  school  of  Hobbs  and  Bayle, 
and  Shaftesbury  and  Bolingbroke,  and  Hume  and  Voltaire  and  Gib- 
bon ;  who  have  cultivated  the  skeptical  philosophy  from  my  vain- 
glorious boyhood — I  might  almost  say  childhood — and  who  have  felt 
all  that  unutterable  disgust  which  hypocrisy  and  cant  and  fanaticism 
never  fail  to  excite  in  men  of  education  and  refinement,  superadded 
to  our  natural  repugnance  to  Christianity.  I  am  not,  even  now,  in- 
sensible to  this  impression  ;  but  as  the  excesses  of  her  friends  (real 
or  pretended)  can  never  alienate  the  votary  of  liberty  from  a  free 
form  of  government,  and  enlist  him  under  the  banners  of  despot- 
ism, so  neither  can  the  cant  of  fanaticism,  or  hypocrisy,  or  of  both 
(for  so  far  from  being  incompatible,  they  are  generally  found  united 
in  the  same  character — may  God  in  his  mercy  preserve  and  defend 
us  from  both)  disgust  the  pious  with  true  religion. 

Mine  has  been  no  sudden  change  of  opinion.  I  can  refer  to  a 
record,  showing,  on  my  part,  a  desire  of  more  than  nine  years'  standing, 
to  partake  of  the  sacrament  of  the  Lord's  Supper  ;  although,  for  two- 
and-twenty  years  preceding,  my  feet  had  never  crossed  the  threshold 
of  the  house  of  prayer.  This  desire  I  was  restrained  from  indulging, 
by  the  fear  of  eating  and  drinking  unrighteously.  And  although 
that  fear  hath  been  cast  out  by  perfect  love,  I  have  never  yet  gone  to 
the  altar,  neither  have  I  been  present  at  the  performance  of  divine  ser- 
vice, unless  indeed  I  may  so  call  my  reading  the  liturgy  of  our  church, 


CONVERSION.  101 

and  some  chapters  of  the  Bible  to  my  poor  negroes  on  Sundays.  Such 
passages  as  I  think  require  it,  and  which  I  feel  competent  to  explain, 
I  comment  upon — enforcing  as  far  as  possible,  and  dwelling  upon, 
those  texts  especially  that  enjoin  the  indispensable  accompaniment 
of  a  good  life  as  the  touchstone  of  the  true  faith.  The  Sermon  from 
the  Mount,  and  the  Evangelists  generally  ;  the  Epistle  of  Paul  to  the 
Ephesians,  chap.  vi.  ;  the  General  Epistle  of  James,  and  the  First 
Epistle  of  John  ;  these  are  my  chief  texts. 

The  consummation  of  my  conversion — I  use  the  word  in  its 
strictest  sense — is  owing  to  a  variety  of  causes,  but  chiefly  to  the  con- 
viction, unwillingly  forced  upon  me,  that  the  very  few  friends  which 
an  unprosperous  life  (the  fruit  of  an  ungovernable  temper)  had  left 
me  were  daily  losing  their  hold  upon  me,  in  a  firmer  grasp  of  am- 
bition, avarice,  or  sensuality.  I  am  not  sure  that,  to  complete  the 
anti-climax,  avarice  should  not  have  been  last ;  for  although,  in  some 
of  its  effects,  debauchery  be  more  disgusting  than  avarice,  yet,  as  it 
regards  the  unhappy  victim,  this  last  is  more  to  be  dreaded.  Dissi- 
pation, as  well  as  power  or  prosperity,  hardens  the  heart ;  but  avarice 
deadens  it  to  every  feeling  but  the  thirst  for  riches.  Avarice  alone 
could  have  produced  the  slave-trade ;  avarice  alone  can  drive,  as  it 
does  drive,  this  infernal  traffic,  and  the  wretched  victims  of  it,  like  so 
many  post-horses,  whipped  to  death  in  a  mail-coach.  Ambition  has 
its  reward  in  the  pride,  pomp,  and  circumstance  of  glorious  war ;  but 
where  are  the  trophies  of  avarice  ? — the  handcuff,  the  manacle,  and 
the  blood-stained  cowhide  1     What  man  is  worse  received  in  society 

for  being  a  hard  master  ?     Every  day  brings  to  light  some  H e 

or  H ns  in  our  own  boasted  land  of  liberty !     Who  denies  the 

hand  of  a  sister  or  daughter  to  such  monsters  1  Nay,  they  have  even 
appeared  in  "  the  abused  shape  of  the  vilest  of  women."  I  say 
nothing  of  India,  or  Amboyna,  of  Cortez  or  Pizarro. 

When  I  was  last  in  your  town  I  was  inexpressibly  shocked  (and 
perhaps  I  am  partly  indebted  to  the  circumstance  for  accelerating  my 
emancipation)  to  hear,  on  the  threshold  of  the  temple  of  the  least 
erect  of  all  the  spirits  that  fell  from  heaven,  these  words  spoken,  by 
a  man  second  to  none  in  this  nation  in  learning  or  abilities  ;  one,  too, 
whom  I  had,  not  long  before,  seen  at  the  table  of  our  Lord  and 
Saviour  :  '•  I  do  not  want  the  Holy  Ghost  (I  shudder  while  I  write), 
or  any  other  spirit  in  me.  If  these  doctrines  are  true  (St.  Paul's), 
there  was  no  need  for  Wesley  and  Whitfield  to  have  separated  from 
the  church.  The  Methodists  are  right,  and  the  church  wrong.  I 
want  to  see  the  old  church,"  &c.  &c. :  that  is,  such  as  this  diocese  was 
under  Bishop  Terrick,  when  wine-bibbing  and  buck-parsons  were  sent 
out  to  preach  ':  a  dry  clatter  of  morality,"  and  not  the  word  of  God, 
for  16,000  lbs.  of  tobacco.  When  I  speak  of  morality  it  is  not  as 
condemning  it ;  religion  includes  it,  but  much  more.     Day  is  now 


102  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

breaking  and  I  shall  extinguish  my  candles,  which  are  better  than  no 
light ;  or  if  I  do  not.  in  the  presence  of  the  powerful  king  of  day 
they  will  be  noticed  only  by  the  dirt  and  ill  savor  that  betray  all 
human  contrivances,  the  taint  of  humanity.  Morality  is  to  the  Gospel 
not  even  as  a  farthing  rushlight  to  the  blessed  sun. 

By  the  way,  this  term  Methodist  in  religion  is  of  vast  compass 
and  effect,  like  tory  in  politics,  or  aristocrate  in  Paris,  "  with  the 
lamp-post  for  its  second,"  some  five  or  six-and-twenty  years  ago. 

Dr.  Hoge?  "  a  Methodist  parson."  Frank  Key?  "  a  fanatic,"  (I 
heard  him  called  so  not  ten  days  ago,)  "a  Methodistical,  whining,  &c, 
&c."  Wilberforce?  "a  Methodist."  Mrs.  Hannah  More?  "ditto." 
It  ought  never  to  be  forgotten,  that  real  converts  to  Christianity  on 
opposite  sides  of  the  globe  agree  at  the  same  moment  to  the  same 
facts.  Thus  Dr.  Hoge  and  Mr.  Key,  although  strangers,  understand 
perfectly  what  each  other  feels  and  believes. 

If  I  were  to  show  a  MS.  in  some  unknown  tongue  to  half  a  dozen 
persons,  strangers  to  each  other  and  natives  of  different  countries, 
and  they  should  all  give  me  the  same  translation,  could  I  doubt  their 
acquaintance  with  the  strange  language?  On  the  contrary,  can  I, 
who  am  but  a  sinatterer  in  Greek,  believe  an  interpreter  who  pretends 
to  a  knowledge  of  that  tongue,  and  yet  cannot  tell  the  meaning  of 

TVTTTCO  1 

I  now  read  with  relish  and  understand  St.  Paul's  epistles,  which 
not  long  since  I  could  not  comprehend,  even  with  the  help  of  Mr. 
Locke's  paraphrase.  Taking  up,  a  few  days  ago,  at  an  "  ordinary," 
the  life  of  John  Bunyan,  which  I  had  never  before  read,  I  find  an 
exact  coincidence  in  our  feelings  and  opinions  on  this  head,  as  well 
as  others. 

Very  early  in  life  I  imbibed  an  absurd  prejudice  in  favor  of 
Mahomedanism  and  its  votaries.  The  crescent  had  a  talismanic 
effect  on  my  imagination,  and  I  rejoiced  in  all  its  triumphs  over  the 
cross  (which  I  despised)  as  I  mourned  over  its  defeats ;  and  Mahomet 
II.  himself  did  not  more  exult  than  I  did,  when  the  crescent  was 
planted  on  the  dome  of  St.  Sophia,  and  the  cathedral  of  the  Con- 
stantines  was  converted  into  a  Turkish  mosque.  To  this  very  day  I 
feel  the  effects  of  Peter  Randolph's  Zanga  on  a  temper  naturally  im- 
patient of  injury,  but  insatiably  vindictive  under  insult. 

On  the  night  that  I  wrote  last  to  you  I  scribbled  a  pack  of  non- 
sense to  Bootes,  which  serves  only  to  show  the  lightness  of  my  heart. 
About  the  same  time,  in  reply  to  a  question  from  a  friend.  I  made  the 
following  remarks,  which,  as  I  was  weak  from  long  vigilance,  I  re- 
quested him  to  write  down,  that  I  might,  when  at  leisure,  copy  it  into 
my  diary.  From  it  you  will  gather  pretty  accurately  the  state  of  my 
mind. 

I  have  been  up  long  before  day,  and  write  with  pain,  from  a  sense 


CONVERSION.  103 

of  duty  to  you  and  Mrs.  B.,  in  whose  welfare  I  take  the  most  earnest 
concern.     You  have  my  prayers  :  give  me  yours,  I  pray  you. 

Adieu ! 

John  Randolph  of  Roanoke. 

I  was  on  the  top  of  the  pinnacle  of  Otter  this  day  fortnight :  a 
little  above  the  earth,  but  how  far  beneath  heaven  ! 

"  Note. — It  is  my  business  to  avoid  giving  offence  to  the  world, 
especially  in  all  matters  merely  indifferent.  I  shall  therefore  stick 
to  my  old  uniform,  blue  and  buff,  unless  God  sees  fit  to  change  it  for 
black.  I  must  be  as  attentive  to  my  dress,  and  to  household  affairs, 
as  far  as  cleanliness  and  comfort  are  concerned,  as  ever,  and  indeed 
more  so.  Let  us  take  care  to  drive  none  away  from  God  by  dress- 
ing religion  in  the  garb  of  fanaticism.  Let  us  exhibit  her  as  she  is, 
equally  removed  from  superstition  and  lukewarmness.  But  we  must 
take  care,  that  while  we  avoid  one  extreme  we  fall  not  into  the  other ; 
no  matter  which.  I  was  born  and  baptized  in  the  Church  of  Eng- 
land. If  I  attend  the  Convention  at  Charlottesville,  which  I  rather 
doubt,  I  shall  oppose  myself  then  and  always  to  every  attempt  at 
encroachment  on  the  part  of  the  church,  the  clergy  especially,  on  the 
rights  of  conscience.  I  attribute,  in  a  very  great  degree,  my  long 
estrangement  from  God  to  my  abhorrence  of  prelatical  pride  and 
puritanical  preciseness  ;  to  ecclesiastical  tyranny,  whether  Roman 
Catholic  or  Protestant;  whether  of  Henry  V.  or  Henry  VIII ;  of 
Mary  or  Elizabeth ;  of  John  Knox  or  Archbishop  Laud  :  of  the 
Cameronians  of  Scotland,  the  Jacobins  of  France,  or  the  Protestants 
of  Ireland.  Should  I  fail  to  attend,  it  will  arise  from  a  repugnance 
to  submit  the  religion,  or  church,  any  more  than  the  liberty  of  my 
country,  to  foreign  influence.  "When  I  speak  of  my  country,  I  mean 
the  Commonwealth  of  Virginia.  I  was  born  in  allegiance  to  George 
III. ;  the  Bishop  of  London  ( Terrick !)  was  my  diocesan.  My  an- 
cestors threw  off  the  oppressive  yoke  of  the  mother  country,  but  they 
never  made  me  subject  to  New  England  in  matters  spiritual  or  tem- 
poral ;  neither  do  I  mean  to  become  so,  voluntarily." 

Mr.  Key,  on  getting  the  news  of  his  friend's  conversion,  responded 
in  this  wise  : — 

"  I  do.  indeed,  my  dear  friend,  rejoice  with  you — I  have  long 
wished,  and  often  believed  with  confidence,  that  you  would  experience 
what  God  has  now  blessed  you  with.  I  need  not  tell  you  (if  I  could) 
of  its  value,  for  I  trust  you  feel  it  to  be  'unspeakable.'  May  the 
grace  that  has  brought  you  from  '  darkness  to  light,'  from  '  death  to 
life,'  keep  you  forever  ! 

"  Nor  do  I  rejoice  merely  on  your  own  account  or  mine.     The 


104  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

wonders  that  God  is  every  where  doing  show  us  that  these  are  no  or- 
dinary times,  and  justify  us  in  hoping  and  expecting  for  greater  mani- 
festations of  his  power  and  goodness.  You  stand  on  an  eminence — 
'  let  your  light  shine'  brightly,  that  all  may  see  it — steadily,  that  they 
may  know  whence  it  comes,  and  '  glorify  your  Father  which  is  in 
heaven.' 

"  Write  to  me  often  and  particularly  ;  '  out  of  the  abundance  of  the 
heart  the  mouth  speaketh  :'  and  may  I  always  hear  that  you  are  fol- 
lowing the  guidance  of  that  blessed  Spirit  that  will  '  lead  you  into  all 
truth,'  leaning  on  that  Almighty  arm  that  has  been  extended  to  deliver 
you,  trusting  only  in  the  only  Saviour,  and  '  going  on'  in  your  way  to 
him  '  rejoicing.' 


CHAPTEK  X. 

IDIOSYNCRACIES. 

A  quick,  intuitive  understanding,  a  vivid  imagination,  an  irritable 
temper,  superadded  to  an  extremely  delicate  and  diseased  constitu- 
tion, produced  a  complicated  character  in  John  Randolph,  that  ren- 
dered him  remarkably  sensitive  to  outward  influences.  He  was, 
indeed,  a  creature  of  impulse,  influenced  for  the  time  being  by  the  cir- 
cumstances by  which  he  was  surrounded.  Things  that  could  produce 
no  impression  on  men  of  less  delicate  sensibility,  would  affect  him 
most  seriously.  An  east  wind,  that  could  produce  no  impression  on 
the  cold,  phlegmatic  temperament  of  Dr.  Johnson,  operated  on  the 
nerves  of  John  Randolph  like  a  sirocco  of  the  desert.  He  was  gen- 
erally disposed  to  look  on  the  dark  side  of  the  picture,  to  imagine  the 
worst,  and  suffer  intensely  from  an  anticipation  of  what  might  never 
happen. 

So  long  as  he  lived  in  solitude,  unaffected  by  the  influences  of  the 
busy  world,  his  mind  dwelt  for  the  most  part  on  religious  subjects ; 
but  when  again  thrown  into  the  excited  arena  of  political  strife,  he  per- 
ceived so  clearly,  by  a  sort  of  intuition  as  it  were,  the  lowest  intrigues 
of  party  politicians,  felt  so  intensely  the  meanness  and  baseness  of 
their  trafficking  purposes,  that  he  was  often  betrayed  into  a  harshness 
of  expression  and  an  extravagance  of  behavior,  that  might  lead  one 
unacquainted  with  his  peculiar  temperament  to  suppose  that  he  was 


IDIOSYNCRACIES.  1Q5 

a  man  of  a  vindictive  and  unfeeling  temper  that  delighted  in  the  tor- 
ture of  others,  while  he  was  himself  uninfluenced  by  a  moral  or  reli- 
gious restraint  of  any  kind.  No  man  was  more  conscious  than  he 
of  this  peculiarity  of  his  nature,  or  more  deeply  deplored  its  conse- 
quences. The  reader  will  perceive,  through  all  his  correspondence, 
that  he  did  not  conceal  from  his  friends  these  deformities  of  charac- 
ter, and  that  he  never  relaxed  in  earnest  efforts — however  useless 
they  may  have  proved — to  overcome  and  to  correct  the  unfortunate 
deficiencies  of  his  nature. 

During  the  present  year  (1819)  there  was  a  general  pecuniary  em- 
barrassment and  distress  in  the  country.  Mr.  Randolph  lost  a  large 
sum  of  money  deposited  in  the  hands  of  a  mercantile  firm  in  Rich- 
mond. He  is  said  to  have  been  deeply  affected  by  this  occurrence, 
and,  as  might  have  been  expected,  spoke  in  harsh  terms  of  the  delin- 
quent merchants 

Frequent  allusion  is  made  to  the  subject  in  the  following  corres- 
pondence, though  religion  is  the  principal  theme. 

Richmond,  May  3,  1819.— Sunday. 

Dear  Frank  : — It  is  so  long  since  I  heard  from  you  that  I  almost 
begin  to  think  that  you  have  struck  me  out  of  your  books.  I  had, 
however,  the  gratification  to  hear  of  you  through  Mr.  Meade,  whom 
I  had  not  the  good  fortune  to  see  as  he  passed  through  this  town, 
having  left  it  on  the  day  of  his  arrival.  You  have  no  conception 
of  the  gloom  and  distress  that  pervade  this  place.  There  has  been 
nothing  like  it  since  1 785,  when,  from  the  same  causes  (paper  money 
and  a  general  peace)  there  was  a  general  depression  of  every  thing. 
It  seems  to  me,  my  dear  friend,  that  in  the  present  instance  we  are 
punished  in  the  offending  member,  if  I  may  so  express  myself.  We 
have  been  the  devoted  worshippers  of  mammon,  and  in  our  darling 
wealth  we  are  made  to  suffer.  May  it  be  the  means  of  opening  our 
eyes  to  the  folly  and  sinfulness  of  our  past  conduct,  and  of  inducing 
us  to  lay  up  treasure  where  moth  corrupteth  not  and  thieves  do  not 
break  in  and  steal. 

Very  contrary  to  my  judgment,  and  yet  more  against  my  feelings, 
I  am  again  a  public  man.  The  application  was  made  in  a  way  that  I 
could  not  with  propriety  resist.  I  was  called  upon  (among  other  con- 
siderations) to  Li redeem  a  pledge"  and  to  prevent  a  contest  for  the 
Representation  of  the  District.  My  views  upon  the  subject  of  pub- 
lic affairs,  as  well  as  other  matters,  are  far  other  than  they  have  been. 
I  now  see  in  its  full  deformity  the  wickedness  of  Party  Spirit,  of 

VOL.  II.  5* 


106  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

which  I  was  so  long  a  votary,  and  I  look  forward  to  the  next  winter 
with  no  other  pleasant  anticipation  but  that  of  seeing  you. 

Poor  H n  !     He  is  gone,  I  see,  to  his  account.     I  heard  with 

much  gratification  that  he  had  been  long  engaged  in  serious  prepara- 
tion for  this  awful  change.  How  poor  and  pitiful  now  seem  all  the 
angry  and  malevolent  feelings  of  which  he  was  the  author  or  the 
object !  My  dear  Frank,  what  is  there  in  this  world  to  satisfy  the 
cravings  of  an  immortal  nature  %  I  declare  to  you  that  the  business 
and  pleasures  of  it  seem  to  me  as  of  no  more  consequence  than  the 
game  of  push-pin  that  occupies  the  little  negroes  at  the  corner  of  the 
street. 

Do  not  misunderstand  me,  my  dear  friend.  My  life  (I  am 
ashamed  to  confess  it)  does  not  correspond  with  my  belief.  I  have 
made  a  vile  return  for  the  goodness  which  has  been  manifested  to- 
wards me — but  I  still  cling  to  the  cross  of  my  Redeemer,  and  with 
God's  aid  firmly  resolve  to  lead  a  life  less  unworthy  of  one  who  calls 
himself  the  humble  follower  of  Jesus  Christ.  I  am  here  on  a  busi- 
ness of  much  consequence  to  me.  It  is  to  draw,  if  I  can,  a  sum  of 
money  from  the  hands  of  a  merchant  which  has  been  appropriated  to 
an  object  which  I  have  long  had  at  heart.  I  have  some  fears  of 
losing  it ;  but  if  I  do,  I  have  the  fullest  confidence  that  I  ought ;  and 
must  devise  some  other  provision  against  the  daily  nightmare  that 
has  so  long  oppressed  me.  You  will  be  at  no  loss  to  conjecture  the 
subject. 

Since  I  saw  you,  I  have  become  more  infirm  and  more  indolent 
than  ever.  This  last  is  my  besetting  sin.  My  spirits  often  desert 
me,  and  indeed  it  is  no  matter  of  wonder ;  for  a  more  forlorn  and  des- 
titute creature  can  hardly  be  found.  I  have  outlived  my  relations 
and  friends,  except  a  few  who  are  far  away. 

On  the  subject  of  his  return  to  Congress,  Key  replies  : — 

"  You  know  my  opinion  about  public  life — that  a  man  has  no  more 
right  to  decline  it  than  to  seek  it.  I  do  not  know,  perhaps,  all  its  dangers, 
but  I  have  no  doubt  they  are  great.  But  whatever  they  be,  the  grace 
of  God  is  sufficient  for  them,  and  he  who  enters  upon  them  with  a 
sole  view  to  his  glory,  and  depends  entirely  on  his  grace,  will  find 
'  crooked  things  made  straight,'  and  the  mountains  made  plains  be- 
fore him.  Certainly  in  such  a  state,  a  man  who  lives  '  by  faith  and 
not  by  sight'  can  evidently  serve  the  cause  of  religion,  and  I  trust 
and  pray  that  thus  your  light  may  shine. 

"You  will  indeed  be  set '  on  a  hill.'  Innumerable  eyes  will  be 
fastened  on  you.  The  men  of  the  world  will  look  for  something  with 
which  they  may  reproach  you,  and  your  faith  ;  while  '  the  blessed  com- 
pany of  all  faithful  people  :  will  look  to  see  if  they  may '  take  know- 
ledge of  you.  that  you  have  been  with  Christ ' — may  they  have  to 
i  thank  God  always  for  you !' 


IDIOSYNCRACIES.  107 

"  You  have  no  idea  what  an  interest  is  excited  in  your  behalf  among 
religious  persons  I  believe  that  many  a  fervent  prayer  is  offered 
up  for  you  by  people  who  never  saw  your  face." 

To  whom  thus  Randolph  : — 

"  Your  letter  has  produced  a  strange  and  indescribable  feeling. 
That  I,  who  have  long  been  an  object  of  malevolence  or  indifference  to 
most  of  them  that  know  me,  should  receive  the  prayers  of  strangers  ! 
May  God  bless  all  such  charitable  souls.  Perhaps  if  we  were  to- 
gether I  could  explain  the  state  of  my  feelings — on  paper  I  find  it 
out  of  my  power  to  do  so.  When  I  think  on  Mr.  Hoge,  our  friend 
Meade  and  some  others,  I  am  almost  driven  to  despair.  To  divest 
ourselves  of  our  human  feelings,  is,  I  know,  impossible — neither  have 
I  ever  supposed  it  otherwise.  But  there  are  times  when  they  quite 
overcome  me,  and  when  the  chaos  of  my  mind  can  be  compared  with 
nothing  but  the  state  that  poor  Cowper  was  in  before  he  found  peace, 
or  rather  after  the  death  of  Mrs.  Erwin.  But  at  my  gloomiest  mo- 
ments,when  I  think  how  much  less  I  suffer  than  I  have  deserved — when 
I  remember  that  '  he  who  bore  in  heaven  the  second  name  had  not 
on  earth  whereon  to  lay  his  head,'  and  that  he  died  the  death  of  the 
Cross — when  I  think  how  far  my  ingratitude  to  God  transcends  all 
other  human  ingratitude — the  treachery  and  unthankfulness  of  man- 
kind vanish  before  these  considerations,  and  I  cry  out,  '  not  my  will 
but  thy  will  be  done.'  But  although  I  can  suffer,  I  cannot  do  ;  and 
my  life  is  running  off  in  indolent  speculations  upon  my  duty,  instead 
of  being  devoted  to  its  performance.  Amidst  all  these  lamentable 
failures,  however,  I  hold  fast  my  resolution,  with  his  gracious  assist- 
ance, to  put  my  whole  trust  in  God,  to  pour  out  my  whole  soul  in 
fervent  prayer  ;  and  in  his  good  time  he  may  increase  my  strength 
to  wrestle  with  the  temptations  that  beset  me.  By  the  late  bank- 
ruptcies I  am  reduced  from  ease  and  independence  to  debt  and 
straitened  circumstances.  I  have  endavored  in  vain  to  sell  a  part  of 
my  property  at  a  reduced  price,  to  meet  my  engagements. 

"  I  had  not  heard  of  M 's  death.     May  our  latter  end  be  like 

his.  Indeed  I  am  here  entirely  removed  from  the  converse  of  my 
species.  I  know  not  what  is  doing  in  the  world  ;  but  even  in  this 
retreat  the  groans  of  the  children  of  mammon  sometimes  break  upon 
my  ear.  If  I  cannot  arrange  my  affairs  I  fear  I  must  resign  my  seat. 
I  say  "  I  fear,"  because  I  would  avoid  all  appearance  of  fickleness  and 
caprice.  What  you  tell  me  ought  to  nerve  my  resolution.  Alas  !  it 
is  in  the  persons  of  her  friends  and  from  their  hands  that  religion 
receives  her  deadliest  wounds.  God  grant  that  I  may  always  bear 
this  in  mind,  and  that  this  consideration  may  deter  me  from  much 
evil,  and  spur  me  on  to  do  good." 

August  8th,  1819. — "  You  have  formed  too  favorable  an  opinion  of 


108  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

my  state,  which  too  often  reminds  me  of  the  seed  that '  fell  upon  stony 
places.'  This  is  not  said  out  of  any  affected  humility,  far  worse  than 
the  highest  presumption,  hut  from  a  comparison  of  the  fruit  with  what 
the  tree  ought  to  bear. 

"  Can  there  he  faith  even  as  a  grain  of  mustard  seed  when  such  is 
the  life  ?  It  has  pleased  God  to  visit  us  with  the  most  destructive 
drought  in  the  memory  of  any  living  man.  Great  apprehensions  are 
entertained  of  famine,  hut  I  trust  that  he  who  feedeth  the  young 
ravens  will  not  suffer  us  to  starve.  Indeed,  so  far  from  being  over- 
careful  and  troubled  about  the  things  of  this  world,  I  am  culpably 
remiss  respecting  them,  and  this  indolent  supineness  had  led  to  more 
than  one  evil  consequence.  I  am  worn  out,  body  and  mind,  and  the 
least  exertion,  corporeal  or  intellectual,  exhausts  me  entirely.  Even 
the  writing  of  this  letter  will  be  sensibly  felt.  Whilst  you  and  others 
of  my  friends  are  bearing  the  heat  and  burthen  of  the  day,  I  am 
languishing  in  inglorious  indolence. 

"  I  am  more  than  satiated  with  the  world.  It  is  to  me  a  fearful 
prison-house  of  guilt  and  misery.  I  fear  that  my  feelings  towards  it 
are  not  always  sufficiently  charitable  ;  but  an  eternity  here  would  be 
punishment  enough  for  the  worst  offenders.  Towards  the  meeting  of 
Congress  I  look  forward  with  no  agreeable  anticipations.  lam  sen- 
sible of  a  great  decline  of  my  faculties,  not  the  less  injurious  from 
being  premature.  In  short,  I  have  lost  all  hope  of  public  service, 
and  whithersoever  I  direct  my  eyes  a  dark  cloud  seems  to  impend. 
This  gloom  is  not  constitutional.  It  is  the  result  of  sad  experience 
of  myself  as  well  as  others.  I  would  not  have  you  think  that  it  is 
accompanied  by  a  spirit  of  repining  ;  far  from  it.  I  adore  the  good- 
ness and  the  wisdom  of  God,  and  submit  myself  to  his  mercy  most 
implicitly,  acknowledging  that  if  he  were  to  deal  with  me  according 
to  my  deserts  '  I  couhi  not  abide  it.'  My  own  short-comings  are  the 
sources  of  my  regrets,  '  and  why  call  ye  me  Lord,  Lord,  and  do  not 
the  things  that  I  say  V  This,  my  dear  friend,  troubles  me  by  day 
and  by  night.  'Tis  not  what  others  do,  but  what  I  do,  or  omit,  that 
annoys  me. 

"  Cases  of  insanity  and  suicide  (although  not  so  numerous  as  might 
have  been  expected,  judging  from  the  effects  of  the  South  Sea  and 
Mississippi  bubbles)  have  not  been  unfrequent  in  this  quarter.  As 
many  as  three  ministers  of  the  gospel,  and  several  other  devout 
professors,  have  ended  their  lives  by  their  own  hands.  I  wish  you 
had  been  a  little  more  explicit  on  the  Baltimore  matters.  There  are 
many  individuals  there  that  I  personally  wish  well  to,  and  would 
be  glad  to  hear  that  they  had  escaped  the  general  contamination." 

"  I  am  sorry,"  says  Key  in  response,  "  to  observe  your  despond- 
ing feelings ;  you  must  fight  your  way  through  them.  '  Heaviness 
may  endure  for  a  night,  but  joy  cometh  in  the  morning.'     The  Chris- 


IDIOSYNCRACIES.  109 

tian  must  always  lament  his  remaining  corruptions,  and  that  the 
fruits  of  his  faith  correspond  so  little  with  what  he  intends  and  de- 
sires. But  that  he  brings  forth  any  fruit  is  matter  of  rejoicing,  for 
it  is  the  work  of  grace  ;  and  he  has  cause  to  be  thankful  for  this  very 
desire  to  do  better — and  he  has  the  consolation  of  a  clear  promise 
from  God  that  he  will  not  leave  his  work  undone,  but  that  this  grace 
shall  make  him  '  abound  more  and  more  in  every  good  word  and 
work.' 

"  In  the  seasons  of  despondency  which  I  have  felt,  great  relief  has 
been  afforded  to  my  mind  by  the  Psalms.  I  often  come  to  passages 
that  seem  to  be  spoken  right  at  me,  and  joy  and  peace  were  '  shed 
abroad  in  my  heart.'  I  think  they  would  be  blessed  in  the  same  way 
to  you.  Have  you  read  Miss  Taylor's  Poems  1  You  may  see  them 
reviewed  in  the  Christian  Observer.  I  send  you  a  Magazine  that  is 
published  here,  which  I  hope  will  be  faithfully  conducted. 

"  I  would  tell  you  more  of  these  Baltimore  troubles  and  abomi- 
nations, but  I  really  know  very  little  about  them.  I  understand  the 
grand  jury,  at  their  late  court,  have  found  indictments  against  many 
of  them." 

To  which  Randolph  replied,  August  22d : 

"  Your  letter  of  the  16th  has  just  arrived  to  cheer  my  solitude. 
Acceptable  as  it  is,  it  would  not  have  been  so  promptly  acknowledged 
but  for  what  you  say  about  the  Psalms.  Once,  of  all  the  books  of 
Holy  Writ,  they  were  my  especial  aversion  ;  but,  thanks  be  to  God  ! 
they  have  long  constituted  a  favorite  portion  of  that  treasure  of  wis- 
dom. As  you  say,  many  passages  seem  written  '  right  at  me.'  It 
is  there  that  I  find  my  sin  and  sorrows  depicted  by  a  fellow-sinner 
and  fellow-sufferer  ;  and  there  too  I  find  consolation.  I  chiefly  read 
the  version  in  the  Book  of  Common  Prayer,  and  mine  is  scored  and 
marked  from  one  end  to  the  other.  '  Why  art  thou  so  heavy,  0  my 
soul  1  and  why  art  thou  so  disquieted  within  me  ?  0  put  thy  trust 
in  God,  for  I  will  yet  give  him  thanks,  which  is  the  help  of  my  coun- 
tenance and  my  God.' " 

After  making  inquiries  about  many  of  his  old  friends,  some  of 
whom,  he  feared,  had  gone  by  the  board  in  the  general  wreck,  he  thus 
continues : 

"  I  do  assure  you  that  I  sometimes  look  back  upon  old  times  until 
it  seems  a  dream ;  but  it  is  a  dream  that  often  draws  tears  in  my 
eyes. 

"  Miss  Key  (your  uncle  Philip's  daughter)  is,  I  presume,  unmar- 
ried ;  for  there  was  nobody  in  the  district  deserving  of  her,  when  I 
knew  it,  and  she  has  too  much  good  sense  to  throw  herself  away  on 
flimsy  members  of  Congress  or  diplomatic  adventurers.     I  often  think 


HO  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

of  the  pain  I  suffered  at  her  father's,  more  than  eleven  years  ago ; 
of  the  kindness  and  attention  I  then  received.  Cripple  as  I  then 
thought  myself,  I  had  no  forecast  that  in  so  short  a  time  I  should  be 
almost  superannuated.  My  sight  is  nearly  gone,  and  my  memory  of 
recent  events  no  better.  When  you  see  or  hear  from  Mr.  Meade, 
mention  me  in  the  warmest  terms  of  regard  and  respect.  *  *  *  *  In 
your  next  I  expect  a  dish  of  chit-chat.  P.  S.  I  wish  the  first  leisure 
half  hour  you  light  upon  you  would  take  up  your  pen  and  tell  me  all 
about  it.  '  About  what?'  Why,  every  thing  and  every  body.  There's 
that  fine  fellow,  D.  M — y,  whom  you  have  not  once  named ;  nor  J. 

C n,  whom,  for  the  life  of  me,  I  can  hear  nothing  about — whether 

he  has  gone  to  pieces  in  the  general  wreck  ?  I  speak  of  his  fortune, 
for  my  confidence  in  his  principles  is  unshaken.  Then  there  is  your 
friend  Mr.  T. 

"  You  see,  Frank,  that  I  am,  indeed,  growing  old,  and,  like  other 
dotards,  delight  in  garrulity  and  gossip.  To  tell  you  the  truth,  I 
stay  here,  and  look  at  the  trees  until  I  almost  conceit  myself  a  dryad  ; 
at  least  you  perceive  I  am  no  grammarian." 

To  Dr.  Brockenbrough  he  speaks  more  unreservedly  on  all  sub- 
jects than  to  any  other  man.  Take  the  following  letters,  written 
about  the  same  time  as  those  addressed  to  Mr.  Key : 

"  I  was  very  glad  to  learn  from  Quashee  that  you  were  well  enough 
to  walk  the  streets  when  he  was  in  Richmond.  I  make  it  almost  a 
matter  of  conscience,  notwithstanding,  to  bore  you  with  my  letters  ; 
but  I  must  beg  you  to  take  into  consideration  that  I  am  cut  off  from 
all  intercourse  with  the  rest  of  the  world,  and  unable  to  obtain  the 
slightest  information  of  what  is  passing  in  it.  It  would  be  a  charity 
to  drop  me  a  line  now  and  then.  I  have  hardly  seen  a  white  face 
since  I  got  home,  until  last  evening,  when  Colonel  C.  showed  me  a 
letter  from  T.  asking  a  discharge  from  him  and  his  brother  and  son- 
in-law.  If  I  had  had  any  expectations  from  that  quarter,  this  let- 
ter would  have  put  an  end  to  them.  T.  and  M.  will  receive  no  release 
from  me.  I  will  not  persecute  them  :  but  their  conduct  deserves 
no  indulgence.  I  had  intended  to  have  been  in  Richmond  ten  days 
ago,  but  my  health  is  so  deplorably  bad  that  I  cannot  venture  to  leave 
my  own  house  even  for  a  day ;  and  it  is  well  for  me.  Here,  then,  I 
must  live,  and  here  I  must  die,  '  a  lone  and  banished  man  ;'  and  what 
banishment  can  be  worse  than  his  who  is  ashamed  to  show  his  face  to 
society?  I  nerve  myself  up  to  bear  it  as  I  would  to  undergo  a  sur- 
gical operation  ;  but  the  cases  are  widely  different.  The  one  must 
soon  end  in  a  cure,  or  in  death ;  but  every  succeeding  day  brings  no 
relief,  but  utter  aggravation  of  wretchedness,  to  the  other.  These 
days,  however,  God  be  praised  !  must  have  an  end. 

"  An  Enquirer  fell  into  my  hands  yesterday.     What  a  contrast  be- 


IDIOSYNCRACIES.  HI 

tween  the  universal  cry  of  the  country  and  the  testimony  of  our  gra- 
cious sovereign  to  our  great  and  increasing  prosperity  !  You  have 
them  in  the  same  columns.  It  will  make  a  figure  in  Europe.  Bal- 
timore seems  to  have  suffered  not  less  than  Richmond.  Pray  let  me 
know  if  S.  and  B.  have  failed ;  and,  if  you  can,  the  cause  of  J.  S. 
leaving  the  Bank  of  Baltimore. 

K  My  best  respects  to  Mrs.  B.  These  glaring  long  days  make  me 
think  of  her.  I  lie  in  bed  as  long  as  I  can  to  shorten  them,  and 
keep  my  room  darkened.  Perhaps  a  strait  waistcoat  would  not  be 
amiss.  Have  E.  and  A.  stopped  ?  Farewell.  If  we  ever  meet  again, 
it  must  be  here.  Should  I  ever  get  in  reach  of  a  ship  bound  to  any 
foreign  land,  I  will  endeavor  to  lose  sight  of  this  for  ever." 

To  the  same : 

"  I  have  long  been  indebted  to  you  for  your  letter  by  Mr.  Wat- 
kins,  which  reminded  me  of  those  which  I  used  to  receive  from  you 
some  years  ago,  when  I  was  not  so  entirely  unable  as  I  am  now  to 
make  a  suitable  return  to  my  correspondents.  I  feel  most  seriously 
this  incapacity  and  deplore  it,  but  for  the  life  of  me  I  cannot  rouse 
myself  to  take  an  interest  in  the  affairs  of  this  •  trumpery  world '  as 
'  the  antiquary '  calls  it,  and  with  a  curious  felicity  of  expression ; 
for  it  is  upon  a  larger  scale  what  a  strolling  play-house  is  upon  a 
smaller,  all  outside  show  and  tinsel  and  frippery,  and  wretchedness. 
There  are  to  be  sure  a  few,  a  very  few,  who  are  what  they  seem  to  be. 
But  this  ought  to  concern  me  personally  as  little  as  any  one ;  for 
I  have  no  intercourse  with  those  around  me.  I  often  mount  my 
horse  and  sit  upon  him  ten  or  fifteen  minutes,  wishing  to  go  some- 
where but  not  knowing  where  to  ride,  for  I  would  escape  any  where 
from  the  incubus  that  weighs  me  down,  body  and  soul ;  but  the  fiend 
follows  me  '  ex  croupa.'  You  can  have  no  conception  of  the  intense- 
ness  of  this  wretchedness,  which  in  its  effect  on  my  mind  I  can  com- 
pare to  nothing  but  that  of  a  lump  of  ice  on  the  pulse  of  the  wrist, 
which  I  have  tried  when  a  boy.  And  why  do  I  obtrude  all  this  upon 
you?  Because  from  the  fulness  of  the  heart  the  mouth  speaketh.  I 
can  be  and  am  silent  for  days  and  weeks  together,  except  on  indiffe- 
rent subjects ;  but  if  I  address  myself  to  a  friend,  the  misery  that 
preys  upon  me  will  not  be  suppressed.  The  strongest  considerations 
of  duty  are  barely  sufficient  to  prevent  me  from  absconding  to  some 
distant  country,  where  I  might  live  and  die  unknown.  There  is  a 
selfishness  in  our  occupations  and  pursuits,  after  the  first  gloss  of 
youth  has  worn  off,  that  hardens  us  against  our  fellow-men.  This  I 
now  know  to  be  the  necessary  consequence  of  our  nature,  but  it  is 
not  therefore  the  less  revolting  I  had  hoped  to  divert  the  gloom  that 
overhangs  me  by  writing  this  letter  at  the  instigation  of  old  Quashee, 
but  I  struggle  against  it  in  vain.  Is  it  not  Dr.  Johnson  who  says 
that  to  attempt  '  to  thiuk  it  down  is  madness  ? ' 


112  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

11  Your  brother  William  and  myself  hit  upon  the  same  4th  of  July- 
toast  with  some  variation  ;  mine  was  '  State  Rights,  de  mortuis  nil 
nisi  bonum?  It  will  hardly  appear  in  the  newspapers.  I  agree  with 
you  on  the  subject  of  the  Bankrupt  Law,  with  some  shades  of  differ- 
ence. I  would  not  have  the  General  Government  touch  the  subject 
at  all.  But  some  mode  I  think  ought  to  be  devised  for  setting  aside 
the  present  shameful  practices  :  robbing  one  man  to  pay  another,  &c. 

After  a  good  deal  about  the  pecuniary  embarrassment  of  the 
times,  and  many  friends  who  were  involved  in  the  catastrophe,  the 
letter  thus  concludes  : 

"  My  best  regards  to  Mrs.  B.  Tell  her  I  have  read  nothing  for 
six  weeks,  being  '  high  gravel  blind,'  and  having  nothing  to  read 
but  old  standard  authors,  who  are  too  solid  for  my  weak  stomach 
and  this  hot  weather.     Adieu ! 

Yours  truly, 

J.  R.  of  Roanoke. 
A  worn-out  man  and  pen. 


CHAPTEE    XI. 

CONGRESS  —  POLITICAL  PARTIES. 

After  Mr.  Randolph  had  been  in  Washington  some  two  or  three 
weeks,  he  thus  gives  the  result  of  his  observations  to  a  friend,  under 
date  of  the  21st  of  December,  1819. —  "  Here  I  find  myself  isoU,  al- 
most as  entirely  as  at  Roanoke,  for  the  quiet  of  which  (although  I 
left  it  without  a  desire  ever  to  see  it  again)  I  have  sometimes  panted  ; 
or  rather,  to  escape  from  the  scenes  around  me.  Once  the  object  of 
proscription,  I  am  become  one  of  indifference  to  all  around  me  ;  and 
in  this  respect  I  am  in  no  wise  worse  off  than  the  rest ;  for,  from 
all  that  I  can  see  and  learn,  there  are  no  two  persons  here  that  care 
a  single  straw  for  one  another.  My  reception  is  best  by  the  old  ja- 
cobins enrages;  next,  by  the  federalists,  who  have  abjured  their 
heresies  and  reconciled  themselves  to  the  true  Catholic  Church;  worst 
of  all,  by  the  old  minority  men,  white  washed  into  courtiers." 

When  Mr.  Randolph  returned  to  Congress  in  1819,  the  relation 
of  political  parties  had  been  entirely  changed.     The  restoration  of 


POLITICAL  PARTIES.  113 

peace  put  an  end  to  all  the  questions  which  had  hitherto  divided 
them.  With  the  exception  of  the  bank — whose  chartered  existence 
commenced  in  1791,  and  closed  in  1811 — all  the  great  subjects  dis- 
cussed in  the  halls  of  legislation  and  by  the  press,  grew  out  of 
our  relations  with  foreign  countries.  Washington  had  scarcely  taken 
in  hand  the  reins  of  government  when  the  French  revolution  burst 
forth,  and  disturbed  the  repose  of  Europe.  The  Republican  ten- 
dencies of  the  French  people,  notwithstanding  their  bloody  extrav- 
agancies, found  at  all  times  in  the  United-States  a  strong  and  sym- 
pathizing party.  On  the  other  hand,  there  was  a  powerful  party 
that  deprecated  French  influence,  and  sympathized  with  England  in 
her  efforts  to  repress  those  revolutionary  tendencies.  All  those  who 
were  opposed  to  a  strong  centralizing  government,  and  favored  the 
independence  of  the  States  so  far  as  consisted  with  the  strict  limita- 
tions of  the  Constitution,  leaned  to  the  French  side  of  the  question. 
Those  of  the  contrary  opinions  took  the  opposite.  As  the  destructive 
war  between  those  great  belligerent  powers  waxed  hotter  and  hotter, 
its  exciting  and  maddening  influences  were  more  deeply  felt  by  the 
sympathizing  parties  here.  Each  accused  the  other  of  wishing  to  in- 
volve the  country  in  the  war  on  the  side  of  their  respective  friends. 
Anglomania,  Gallomania,  raged  like  an  epidemic  through  the  land, 
and  every  subject  discussed  partook  of  its  influence — the  Indian 
Wars,  Whisky  Insurrection,  Gennet's  reception,  Jay's  treaty,  and 
the  depredations  on  our  commerce. 

As  those  who  were  opposed  to  French  influence  were  in  the  as- 
cendent, they  pushed  their  measures  to  an  open  rupture  with  France, 
and,  as  a  means  of  repressing  the  further  progress  of  her  revolution- 
ary doctrines,  enacted  those  harsh  and  unconstitutional  remedies 
called  the  Alien  and  Sedition  Laws,  whicn  were  the  immediate  cause 
of  their  overthrow. 

The  resolutions  of  the  legislatures  of  Virginia  and  of  Kentucky, 
growing  out  of  the  above  laws,  and  the  exposition  of  those  resolutions 
by  Mr.  Madison,  in  his  report  to  the  Virginia  legislature  in  1800, 
constitute  the  doctrine  and  political  faith,  so  far  as  they  go,  of  the 
republican  party  that  came  into  power  under  the  auspices  of  Mr. 
Jefferson. 

But  no  sooner  was  Mr.  Jefferson  installed  in  office,  than  he  was 
called  on  to  encounter  the  same  difficulties  which  had  so  much  em- 


114  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

barrassed  his  predecessors  in  their  intercourse  with  foreign  powers. 
The  federal  party,  now  in  the   minority,   and  much  weakened  by 
their  late  overthrow,  opposed  all  his  measures,  and  wielded  his  own 
arguments  against  him.     They  had  contended  that  the  Constitution 
justified  any  measure  that  tended  to  promote  "  the  public  good  and 
general  welfare."     This  broad  doctrine  was  denied  by  the  republican 
party,  and  was  totally  annihilated  by  Mr.  Madison's  report.     But  the 
first  important  measure  of  Mr.  Jefferson  involved  a  contradiction  of  his 
doctrines.     We  were  in  danger  of  a  rupture  with  Spain  and  France, 
on  account  of  the  navigation  of  the  Mississippi.     To  put  an  end  to 
these  difficulties,  Louisiana  was  purchased.     Mr.  Jefferson  said  there 
was  no  constitutional  authority  for  the  act,  that  it  could  only  be  jus- 
tified from  the  necessity  of  the  case,  and  that  the  people  must  sanction 
it  by  an  express  provision  in  the  Constitution.     Then  followed  the  em- 
bargo law,  which  the  federalists  in  like  manner  opposed  on  the  ground 
of  its  unconstitutionality.     They  contended  that  it  was  the  result  of 
"  the  public  good  and  general  welfare"  construction,  so  much  and  so 
successfully  condemned  by  the  party  now  in  power.     Then  followed 
other  restrictive  measures,  and  finally  the  war  with  Great  Britain,  all 
of  which  were  opposed,  as  we  already  know,  by  the  federalists,  as 
parts  of  the  same  erroneous  and  destructive  and  unconstitutional 
policy.     These  divisions  and  difficulties,  growing  out  of  our  foreign 
relations,  were  finally  healed  and  put  to  rest  by  the  termination  of 
the  war.     Former  asperities  were  smothered  down,  old  animosities 
forgotten,  and  the  exciting  cause  of  party  heats  was  burnt  out  and  ex- 
tinguished in  the  general  pacification  of  the  world.     New  questions, 
arising  for  the  first  time  since  the  organization  of  the  government, 
had  now  to  be  discussed  and   solved.      The  functions  of  the  gov- 
ernment, as  restrained  and  directed  by  the  limitations  of  the  Consti- 
tution, had  to  be  exercised  on  a  class  of  cases  entirely  different  from 
those  which  had  hitherto  tested  their  capacity. 

Under  the  monopolizing  influence  of  the  embargo,  non-intercourse, 
and  war  measures  of  the  last  eight  or  nine  years,  a  great  manufactur- 
ing interest  had  been  stimulated  into  being.  During  this  long  period 
of  stagnation  to  commerce  and  agriculture,  much  capital  was  with- 
drawn from  them  and  vested  in  manufactures.  This  great  interest 
was  likely  to  be  seriously  affected  by  the  restoration  of  peace  and  of 
reciprocal  commerce  with  other  manufacturing  nations. 


POLITICAL  PARTIES.  H5 

During  the  long  continental  wars,  when  the  omnipotent  British 
fleet  drove  the  commerce  of  all  the  belligerent  powers  from  the 
ocean,  our  merchantmen,  under  the  protection  of  the  neutral  flag  of 
their  country,  gathered  a  rich  harvest  in  the  carrying  trade.  They 
had  now  to  be  reduced  to  the  bounds  of  a  legitimate  commerce,  and 
subjected  to  the  eager  rivalry  of  other  more  powerful  and  commercial 
States. 

By  the  acquisition  of  Louisiana,  a  vast  dominion  had  been  added 
to  our  territories,  and  our  population  was  rapidly  spreading  over  that 
immense  and  fertile  region.  The  means  of  internal  communication 
became  questions  of  serious  consideration.  The  resources  of  the 
country  lay  dormant  in  their  primeval  state,  like  a  vast  weltering 
chaos,  waiting  for  some  brooding  spirit  to  breathe  life  and  form  into 
its  teeming  elements.  The  South  American  provinces  catching  the 
spirit  of  freedom  from  our  example,  had  thrown  off  the  yoke  of  the 
mother  country,  and  were  looking  to  us  for  countenance,  and  stretch- 
ing forth  the  hand  for  aid  in  their  arduous  struggle  for  independence. 

These  were  the  great  themes  that  filled  the  public  mind  at  the 
coming  in  of  Mr.  Monroe's  administration  and  during  its  continuance. 
It  was  called  the  period  of  good  feeling.  The  Federal  party  entirely 
disappeared,  and  its  members  were  received  into  the  ranks  of  their 
old  opponents.  But  many  respectable  men  among  them,  not  disposed 
to  abandon  principles  which  they  had  honestly  adopted,  retired  to 
private  life.  The  rhetorical  phrase  of  Mr.  Jefferson,  in  his  inaugural 
address,  was  made  to  have  a  practical  meaning.  The  popular  word 
was,  "  We  are  all  Federalists,  all  Republicans."  The  existence  of  a 
distinct  Federal  party,  or  a  distinct  Republican  party,  was  denied, 
and  the  leading  politicians  cultivated  with  great  assiduity,  the  favor 
and  support  of  all  men,  without  regard  to  former  distinctions,  count- 
ing them  as  brothers  of  the  same  republican  family. 

This  new  state  of  things  was  made  the  theme  of  congratulation 
to  the  country  by  the  newspaper  writers  and  the  fourth  of  July 
orators  of  the  time.  "  I  come  not  here  to  burn  the  torch  of  Alecto," 
says  one  of  the  latter ;  "  to  me  there  is  no  lustre  in  its  fires,  nor 
cheering  warmth  in  its  blaze.  Let  us  rather  offer  and  mingle  our 
congratulations,  that  those  unhappy  differences  which  alienated  one 
portion  of  our  community  from  the  rest,  are  at  an  end  ;  and  that 
a  vast  fund  of  the  genius  and  worth  of  our  country  has  been  restored 


116  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

to  its  service,  to  give  new  vigor  to  its  career  of  power  and  prosperity. 
To  this  blessed  consummation  the  administration  of  our  venerable 
Monroe  has  been  a  powerful  auxiliarjr.  The  delusions  of  past  years 
have  rolled  away,  and  the  mists  that  once  hovered  over  forms  of  now 
unshaded  brightness,  are  dissipated  for  ever.  We  can  now  all  meet 
and  exchange  our  admiration  and  love  in  generous  confraternity  of 
feeling,  whether  we  speak  of  our  Jefferson  or  our  Adams,  our  Madi- 
son or  our  Hamilton,  our  Pinckney  or  our  Monroe ;  the  associations 
of  patriotism  are  awakened,  and  we  forget  the  distance  in  the  politi- 
cal zodiac  which  once  separated  these  illustrious  luminaries,  in  the 
full  tide  of  glory  they  are  pouring  on  the  brightest  pages  of  our 
history." 

This  amalgamation  of  all  parties  was  a  dangerous  experiment  on 
the  health  and  soundness  of  the  Republic.  Over  action  was  the  ne- 
cessary consequence  of  the  destruction  of  all  the  countervailing  influ- 
ences of  the  system  ;  and  the  generation  of  some  latent  chronic 
disease,  which  in  after  time  must  seriously  affect  the  constitution  of 
the  body  politic.  The  French  government,  the  laborious  work  of  a 
thousand  years,  was  destroyed  in  a  single  night,  by  the  sacrifice  of  all 
the  orders  of  their  distinctive  privileges  and  opposing  influences  on 
what  they  fondly  deemed  to  be  the  altar  of  patriotism.  The  flood- 
gates were  now  opened  ;  and  from  this  single  blunder  there  followed 
a  series  of  frightful  consequences,  which  history  in  the  course  of  half  a 
century  has  not  been  able  to  understand  nor  to  portray. 

It  is  lamentable  to  see  a  country  cut  up  into  factions,  following 
this  or  that  great  leader  with  a  blind,  undoubting  hero-worship ;  it  is 
contemptible  to  see  it  divided  into  parties,  whose  sole  end  is  the  spoils 
of  victory ;  such  an  one  is  nigh  its  end :  but,  on  the  other  hand,  it  is 
equally  true,  that  no  government  can  be  conducted  by  the  people  and 
for  the  benefit  of  the  people,  without  a  rigid  adherence  to  certain  fixed 
principles,  which  must  be  the  test  of  parties,  and  of  men  and  of  their 
measures.  These  principles  once  determined,  they  must  be  inexora- 
ble in  their  application,  and  compel  all  men  either  to  come  up  to 
their  standard,  or  to  declare  against  it ;  their  criterion  of  political 
faith  must  be  the  same  as  that  of  Christian  faith  laid  down  by  Christ 
himself — they  ivJio  arc  not  for  us  are  against  us.  Men  may  betray, 
principles  never  can.     Oppression  is  the  invariable  consequence  of 


POLITICAL  PARTIES.  \yj 

misplaced  confidence  in  treacherous  man ;  never  is  it  the  result  of 
the  working  of  a  sound,  just,  and  well-tried  principle. 

If  the  proposition  be  true,  that  ours  is  a  government  peculiar  in 
its  nature,  unknown  in  former  times,  or  to  other  nations,  then  the 
political  doctrines  arising  from  a  contemplation  of  its  structure  and 
the  principles  by  which  it  is  to  be  conducted,  should  be  peculiar  also  : 
the  analogies  of  history,  and  the  examples  of  other  states,  should 
serve  rather  as  beacons  of  warning  than  as  precedents  to  be  followed. 
If  it  be  true,  that  ours  is  a  government  of  delegated  authority,  arising 
out  of  the  constitutional  compact  of  sovereign  and  independent 
States,  which  delegated  powers  are  specified  and  strictly  limited, 
while  all  others  are  reserved  to  the  States,  or  to  the  people  of  the 
States ;  then  there  must  grow  out  of  this  peculiar  and  jealous  rela- 
tion of  the  States  and  the  people  of  the  States  to  each  other  and  to 
the  government  they  have  mutually  drawn  over  them  for  their  com- 
mon protection,  certain  political  principles  as  essential  for  the  sound 
and  healthy  action  of  the  complicated  system  as  vital  air  is  to  the 
human  body. 

The  same  wise  abstinence  that  influenced  the  structure  should 
control  the  action  of  this  governmental  machinery.  It  would  seem 
that  the  first  inquiry  a  prudent  statesman  should  propound  to  him- 
self would  be  this — is  the  power  delegated  1  Does  the  charter  specify 
the  grant?  If  not,  is  it  a  necessary  inference  as  the  means  of  carry- 
ing into  effect  a  power  granted  1  If  it  be  neither  the  one  nor  the  other, 
but  is  in  itself  a  distinct  and  substantive  power,  he  should  say  to 
himself,  this  power  ought  not  to  be  exercised,  however  expedient  or 
necessary  it  may  seem  to  me  at  this  time  ;  to  place  it  among  the 
delegated  powers  by  construction,  is  to  construe  away  the  Constitu- 
tion— my  example  will  be  made  a  precedent  for  still  bolder  construc- 
tion, until  there  shall  be  nothing  left  to  the  States  or  to  the  people  ; 
and  this  well  balanced  republic  of  confederated  States  shall  sink  down 
into  ci  consolidated  and  despotic  empire.  These  reflections  seem  not 
to  have  influenced  the  statesmen  of  Mr.  Monroe's  administration. 
The  new  and  brilliant  career  that  lay  before  them  kindled  their 
imaginations ;  and  each,  like  an  Olympian  courser,  eagerly  pressed 
forward  to  take  the  lead  in  every  enterprise.  In  projecting  schemes 
to  develope  and  to  direct  the  resources  and  the  domestic  concerns  of 
the  people,  they  seemed  to  vie  with  each  other  in  giving  to  the  limita- 


118  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

tions  of  the  Constitution  the  utmost  latitude  of  interpretation.  Nor 
is  it  at  all  surprising,  when  we  consider  the  materials  of  which  the 
government  was  composed.  The  minority  men  of  embargo  times 
had  been  whitewashed  into  courtiers,  with  their  old  leader  (Monroe) 
at  the  head  of  the  government,  who,  to  obtain  that  station,  was 
accused  of  sacrificing  every  principle  he  ever  professed.  The  Fede- 
ralists (latitudinarians  in  principle),  who  had  abjured  their  heresies,  and 
reconciled  themselves  to  the  true  catholic  church,  constituted  the  body 
of  voters  in  the  two  Houses  of  Congress ;  while  their  parliamentary 
leaders  were  the  same  intrepid  young  men,  who  entering  into  public 
life  in  times  of  war,  when  boldness  was  the  first  requisite  in  a  states- 
man, kept  up  the  same  ardent  career  in  peace,  and  mounted  first 
the  one  and  then  the  other  hobby,  on  which  they  hoped  to  ride 
into  popular  favor.  The  only  men  left  behind  in  this  wild  race, 
were  the  few  Jacobins  of  the  Adams  and  Jefferson  times,  who 
looked  with  astonishment  and  rage  (enrages)  on  the  adroit  and  unex- 
pected manner  in  which  the  reins  of  government  had  been  slipped 
from  the  hands  of  the  true  Republicans. 

"  The  spirit  of  profession  and  devotion  to  the  court  has  increased 
beyond  my  most  sanguine  anticipations,"  says  John  Randolph  in  a 
letter  to  Dr.  Brockenbrough,  dated  December  30th,  1819.  "The 
die  is  cast.  The  Emperor  is  master  of  the  Senate,  and  through  that 
body  commands  the  life  and  property  of  every  man  in  the  Republic ! 
The  person  who  fills  the  office  seems  to  be  almost  without  a  friend. 
Not  so  the  office  itself." 


CHAPTER   XII. 

MISSOURI     QUESTION 


The  great  subject  not  only  of  discussion,  but  of  deep  and  fearful 
agitation  in  Congress  to  its  close,  on  the  3d  of  March,  1821,  and 
among  the  people,  was  the  Missouri  Question,  or  the  question  of 
slavery  in  its  political  influence  on  the  legislation  of  the  country. 
This  subject,  together  with  the  question  of  right  to  the  waste  lands 


MISSOURI  QUESTION.  119 

lying  within  the  jurisdiction  of  some  of  the  larger  States,  constituted 
the  chief  obstacle  in  the  way  of  a  cordial  and  harmonious  union  of 
the  States,  even  in  the  time  of  their  utmost  peril,  when  they  were 
contending  for  their  independence.  When  the  States  were  called 
upon  to  contribute  their  portion  of  men  and  money  to  conduct  the 
war  on  the  issue  of  which  depended  their  existence,  the  question  was, 
In  what  ratio  shall  they  contribute?  After  trying  the  valuation  of 
landed  property,  with  its  improvements,  they  abandoned  it,  and 
adopted  the  ratio  of  population  as  the  best  evidence  of  ability  to  con- 
tribute, and  as  the  most  practicable  plan  ;  and  it  was  agreed  that  in 
determining  the  amount  of  population  in  each  State,  five  slaves 
should  be  counted  as  equal  to  three  free  men.  Thus  the  slavery  ques- 
tion was  settled  for  the  time. 

When  the  Articles  of  Confederation  were  proposed  to  the  States 
for  adoption,  some  of  them,  enough  to  defeat  the  measure,  refused  to 
come  into  the  Confederation,  unless  the  waste  lands  were  admitted  and 
received  as  common  property  ;  especially  after  the  treaty  of  peace  in 
1783,  and  the  boundaries  of  the  United  States  were  defined,  they  con- 
tended that  all  the  waste,  or  back  lands  within  those  boundaries, 
having  been  bought  with  the  common  blood  and  treasure  of  all.  was 
the  joint  property  of  all  the  States.  It  was  maintained  by  the 
States  on  the  other  hand,  that  the  land  lay  within  their  chartered 
limits,  and  rightfully  belonged  to  them.  This  subject  was  a  serious 
obstacle  in  the  way  of  a  more  permanent  union.  At  length  it  was  agreed 
to  propose  to  the  States  to  grant,  in  a  spirit  of  harmony  and  conces- 
sion, all  their  rights  to  the  Confederation.  New- York  set  the  exam- 
ple, and  made  a  concession  of  all  her  rights  west  of  her  present  bound- 
ary ;  though  her  title  was  regarded  as  of  no  value.  South  Carolina 
followed  next ;  she  also  had  little  or  nothing  to  concede.  Then  came 
Virginia :  her  title  to  lands  lying  northwest  of  the  Ohio,  and  extend- 
ing to  the  Lakes  and  the  Mississippi,  was  for  a  long  time  disputed, 
but  after  a  jealous  and  thorough  investigation,  it  was  finally  given 
up  and  conceded  that  her  title  was  valid.  On  the  1st  of  March,  1784, 
a  deed  was  executed  by  Virginia,  granting  this  immense  domain  to 
the  Confederation — on  the  condition  that  the  territory  so  ceded  shall 
be  laid  out  and  formed  into  States,  and  that  the  States  so  formed  shall 
be  distinct  republican  States,  and  admitted  members  of  the  Federal 


120  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

Union,  having  the  same  rights  of  sovereignty,  freedom,  and  indepen- 
dence, as  the  other  States. 

Immediately  on  the  reception  of  this  grant,  Congress,  on  the  23d 
of  April,  1784,  passed  a  resolution  extending  its  jurisdiction  over  the 
newly  acquired  territory,  and  projected  a  plan  of  government  for  the 
new  States  that  might  grow  up  therein,  according  to  the  conditions  of 
the  grant.  It  was  admitted  that  Congress  had  no  authority  under 
Articles  of  Confederation  for  the  measures  adopted  ;  the  plea  of  ne- 
cessity alone  was  urged  in  their  justification.  Congress  resolved  that 
the  settlers  shall,  either  on  their  own  petition  or  on  the  order  of  Con- 
gress, receive  authority  from  them,  for  their  free  males  of  full  age, 
to  meet  together,  for  the  purpose  of  establishing  a  temporary  govern- 
ment, to  adopt  the  constitution  and  laws  of  any  one  of  the  original 
States,  subject  to  alteration  by  their  ordinary  legislature ;  and  to 
erect  counties  or  other  divisions,  for  the  election  of  members  of  their 
legislature.  They  further  resolved,  that  when  any  such  State  shall 
have  acquired  twenty  thousand  free  inhabitants,  on  giving  due  proof 
thereof  to  Congress,  they  shall  receive  from  them  authority  to  call 
a  convention  of  representatives  to  establish  a  permanent  constitution 
and  government  for  themselves.  Provided,  that  both  the  temporary 
and  permanent  governments  be  established  on  the  principle  that  they 
shall  for  ever  remain  a  part  of  the  Confederacy  of  the  United  States 
of  America,  and  be  subject  to  the  articles  of  confederation. 

These  articles,  together  with  others,  prescribing  the  mode  of  self- 
government  to  be  pursued  by  the  new  States,  as  they  shall  from  time 
to  time  be  carved  out  of  the  recently  acquired  territory,  Congress 
resolved  shall  be  formed  into  a  charter  of  compact ;  and  shall  stand 
as  fundamental  constitutions  between  the  thirteen  original  States, 
and  each  of  the  several  States  now  newly  described,  unalterable  from 
and  after  the  sale  of  any  part  of  the  territory  of  such  State  but  by 
the  joint  consent  of  the  United  States  in  Congress  assembled,  and 
of  the  particular  State  within  which  such  alteration  is  proposed  to  be 
made.  Notwithstanding  the  unalterable  nature  of  this  charter  of 
compact,  Congress  did,  by  an  Ordinance  of  the  13th  of  July,  1787, 
materially  modify  the  same,  and  introduced  a  new  article,  by  which 
it  was  ordained  that  "  there  shall  be  neither  slavery  nor  involuntary 
servitude  in  the  territory,  otherwise  than  in  the  punishment  of  crimes, 
whereof  the  party  shall  have  been  duly   convicted."     Thus  we  per- 


MISSOURI  QUESTION.  121 

ceive  that,  prior  to  the  adoption  of  the  present  Constitution,  which 
was  some  months  after  the  above  ordinance,  the  whole  of  the  North- 
western Territory  had  been  provided  with  a  government. 

No  other  lands  were  ceded  to  the  Confederation,  or'were  expected 
to  be.  The  jurisdiction  of  Virginia  extended  over  the  District  of 
Kentucky  to  the  borders  of  the  Mississippi.  So  did  the  jurisdiction 
of  North  Carolina  extend  over  Tennessee,  and  of  Georgia  over  the 
whole  country  now  embraced  within  the  limits  of  Alabama  and  Mis- 
sissippi. Massachusetts  did  not  surrender  her  jurisdiction  over  the 
District  of  Maine  ;  Vermont  was  a  sovereign  State,  though  not  in  the 
Confederation,  disputing  her  independence  with  New-York  on  the 
one  hand,  and  New  Hampshire  on  the  other. 

Thus  it  appears  that  at  the  time  of  the  adoption  of  the  present 
Constitution,  every  foot  of  land  embraced  within  the  borders  of  the 
United  States  under  the  treaty  of  independence  in  1783,  was  em- 
braced within  the  jurisdiction  of  some  one  of  the  States,  or  the  Con- 
gress of  the  United  States  under  the  charter  of  compact  of  the  23d 
April,  1784;  amended  and  enlarged  by  the  Ordinance  of  the  13th 
July,  \ 787.  The  framers  of  the  Constitution,  therefore,  in  contem- 
plation of  the  facts  before  them,  had  only  to  introduce  an  article 
binding  the  new  government  to  fulfil  the  contracts  of  the  old  one, 
and  an  article  authorizing  Congress  to  dispose  of,  and  make  all  need- 
ful rules  and  regulations,  respecting  the  territory  or  other  property 
belonging  to  the  United  States.  Such  articles  were  introduced,  and 
they  were  sufficient  for  the  purpose. 

A  proposition  was  made  in  the  Convention  to  authorize  Congress 
"  to  institute  temporary  governments  for  the  new  States "  arising 
within  the  unappropriated  lands  of  the  United  States.  But  this 
was  unnecessary,  because  the  object  contemplated  had  already  been 
accomplished  by  the  charter  of  compact  and  the  ordinance,  and  the 
article  in  the  Constitution  requiring  a  fulfilment  of  those  contracts. 
As  to  lands  within  the  jurisdiction  of  the  States  ;  Georgia  for  exam- 
ple, however  much  Congress  might  claim  the  right  to  them  as  com- 
mon property,  they  never  disputed  the  jurisdiction  of  the  State. 
Those  wise  men,  therefore,  declined  acting  on  the  proposition,  they 
never  granted  an  unnecessary  power. 

The  slave-question  was  equally  well  and  wisely  settled  by  the  pro- 
visions of  the  Constitution.     The  same  rule  which  had  been  adopted 

VOL.    II.  6 


122  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

under  the  Confederation  as  the  ratio  of  contribution,  was  made  the 
basis  of  representation  and  taxation.  Representatives  and  direct 
taxes  were  apportioned  among  the  several  States  according  to  their 
respective  numbers  ;  and  to  determine  the  number,  Jive  slaves  were 
to  be  counted  as  equal  to  three  free  men  The  Slave-States,  by  this 
rule,  lost  in  representation,  but  they  gained  whenever  the  government 
resorted  to  direct  taxation ;  that  being  very  seldom,  the  general  re- 
sult has  been  a  loss  to  the  slave-holding  States.  But  they  cannot 
complain,  it  was  a  rule  insisted  on  by  themselves  when,  under  the 
Confederation,  it  was  only  the  basis  of  contribution  of  men  and  mo 
ney.  They  said  that  two-fiftJis  of  the  slaves,  the  old  and  the  young, 
were  a  burthen  to  their  owners  and  ought  not  to  be  taxed ;  this  was 
considered  reasonable,  and  they  were  exempted. 

By  an  article  in  the  Constitution,  the  importation  of  slaves  was 
permitted  for  twenty  years :  that  is,  the  slave-trade  was  tolerated  for 
that  length  of  time  ;  and  by  another  provision,  owners  of  slaves  were 
protected  in  their  rights  whenever  they  escaped  into  States  where 
involuntary  servitude  was  not  allowed  by  law.  It  is  obvious,  that 
every  other  question  which  could  arise  touching  the  subject  of  slavery 
was  of  a  local  and  domestic  nature,  and  was  reserved  to  the  States 
or  to  the  people. 

Thus  did  the  framers  of  our  Constitution,  clearly  perceiving  and 
appreciating  the  delicacy  of  the  subject,  wisely  provide  for  the  diffi- 
culties which  had  so  much  embarrassed  the  States  and  the  Confede- 
ration in  regard  to  the  public  lands  and  the  subject  of  slavery.  Their 
measures  were  complete  and  exhaustive  of  the  subject,  so  far  as  the 
existing  limits  of  the  United  States  were  concerned.  They  did  not 
contemplate  an  extension  of  the  Union  beyond  its  present  bounda- 
ries. The  serious  difficulties  that  now  so  much  threaten  the  integ- 
rity of  the  republic,  have  grown  out  of  the  purchase  and  acquisition 
of  foreign  territory.  It  is  true  the  Constitution  provides  for  the  ad- 
mission of  new  States  ;  but  the  States  contemplated  were  those  ex- 
pected to  grow  up  within  the  existing  borders  of  the  Union — Maine, 
Vermont,  the  North  Western  States,  Kentucky,  Tennessee,  Missis- 
sippi, and  Alabama.  None  others  were  anticipated.  That  the  vast 
dominions  of  the  King  of  Spain,  extending  from  the  borders  of  the 
Mississippi  to  the  Pacific  Ocean,  would  ever  become  a  portion  of  the 
territories  of  the  United  States,  was  a  thing  our  forefathers  never 


MISSOURI  QUESTION.  123 

dreamed  of,  much  less  provided  for  in  that  Constitution  they  had  so 
cautiously  limited  and  guarded  in  all  its  parts,  as  a  fit  government 
for  their  posterity. 

The  acquisition  of  Louisiana  was  without  constitutional  authority. 
Mr.  Jefferson,  who  made  the  purchase,  admitted  it  to  be  so.  He 
wished  a  ratification  of  the  act  by  the  people ;  but  that  was  never 
done.  It  would  be  dangerous  to  take  their  silent  acquiescence  as 
evidence  of  approval.  The  amendment  of  the  Constitution,  which 
Mr.  Jefferson  desired,  by  the  insertion  of  an  ex  post  facto  clause,  par- 
doning its  infraction  under  the  pressure  of  an  imperious  necessity, 
was  never  attempted.  The  deed  stands  now  as  it  did  then — a  naked 
usurpation  of  power,  sanctioned  only  by  the  silent  acquiescence  of  the 
people.  We  do  not  wish  to  be  understood  as  condemning  it.  The 
evils  which  must  necessarily  have  flowed  from  the  continuance  of 
Louisiana  in  the  hands  of  a  foreign  and  hostile  power,  are  much 
greater,  as  we  conceive,  than  those  which  ought  to  result  as  a  neces- 
sary consequence  of  its  annexation  to  the  Union.  But  this  does  not 
alter  the  fact  in  regard  to  it — that  it  was  acquired  without  autho- 
rity, and  that  there  has  been  no  amendment  of  the  Constitution  rati- 
fying the  deed. 

It  is  said,  however,  that  under  the  war  and  treaty-making  power, 
Congress  may  acquire  foreign  territory  ;  under  the  same  authority  by 
which  it  is  obtained,  it  may  be  held  and  governed — conquered  by 
the  sword,  it  may  be  held  and  governed  by  the  sword.  This  doc- 
trine, whether  derived  from  the  war  or  treaty-making  power,  leads  to 
the  consequence  that  Congress  may  acquire  foreign  territory,  and  hold 
it  and  govern  it  as  a  province — as  England  governed  the  old  thirteen 
provinces,  as  she  now  governs  Canada  and  the  East  Indies  !  This  is 
a  startling  conclusion  ;  but  it  is  the  inevitable  consequence  of  the 
premises  ;  grant  the  one,  and  you  are  forced  to  admit  the  other.  But 
Congress,  having  acquired  the  territory,  must  govern  it  in  the  spirit 
of  the  Constitution.  This  is  a  total  surrender  of  the  doctrine  of 
strict  construction,  which  requires  a  distinct  grant  for  the  exercise 
of  every  substantive  power  by  Congress,  as  the  governing  of  a  terri- 
tory, making  and  unmaking  laws  for  it,  must  be  admitted  to  be.  In 
the  spirit  of  the  Constitution  !  What  that  may  be  is  a  matter  of 
opiuion.  A  States-rights  man  holds  one  opinion  on  that  subject; 
a  Consolidationist  or  Federalist  holds  another  ;  and  it  is  left  to  a 


124  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

majority  of  Congress  for  the  time  being  to  say  what  is  legislation  in 
the  spirit  of  the  Constitution.  These  are  the  absurd  and  dangerous 
conclusions  of  a  false  doctrine,  and  we  are  now  reaping  the  conse- 
quences. Better  admit  honestly  and  candidly  with  Mr.  Jefferson, 
that  the  first  acquisition  was  without  constitutional  authority,  and, 
of  consequence,  that  all  the  subsequent  acts  in  regard  to  it  must 
partake  of  the  same  character.  The  truth  is,  that  nearly  all  the  legis- 
lation of  Congress  for  the  last  half  century,  on  the  subject  of  territo- 
ries, can  be  sustained  by  their  own  examples  and  precedents  alone, 
and  not  by  any  grant  of  power  in  the  Constitution. 

When  Missouri  presented  herself  for  admission  into  the  Union, 
a  proposition  was  made  in  Congress  to  amend  her  constitution,  by 
inserting  the  clause,  that  "  all  children  of  slaves,  born  within  the  said 
State  after  the  admission  thereof  into  the  Union,  shall  be  free,  but 
may  be  held  to  service  until  the  age  of  twenty-five  years ;  and  the 
further  introduction  of  slavery,  or  involuntary  servitude,  is  prohibited, 
except  for  the  punishment  of  crimes,  whereof  the  party  shall  have 
been  duly  convicted."  This  proposition  came  too  late.  Missouri  was 
now  an  independent  State,  made  so  by  the  permission  and  by  the 
authority  of  Congress  ;  she  could  not  be  thrown  back  by  the  will  of 
Congress  into  the  colonial  state.  Her  internal  and  domestic  affairs 
were  under  her  absolute  control  ;  and  the  only  inquiry  left  to  Con- 
gress was,  to  determine  whether  her  Constitution  was  republican,  and 
whether,  as  a  new  State,  she  shall  be  admitted  into  the  Union.  The 
attempted  restriction  on  her  domestic  policy  was  a  monstrous  propo- 
sition that  no  other  Congress,  save  such  an  one  as  we  have  described 
in  the  preceding  chapter,  could  have  entertained.  Men  having  a  just 
conception  of  the  limitations  of  the  Constitution  and  of  the  rights  of 
the  States,  would  have  perceived  that  the  internal  affairs  of  a  State 
were  wholly  beyond  the  jurisdiction  of  a  government,  whose  powers 
were  specially  and  strictly  limited  to  a  few  general  subjects  common 
to  all  States. 

But  as  it  regards  the  Territory  beyond  the  limits  of  the  State  of 
Missouri,  wholly  a  different  question  was  presented — here  was  a  fair 
subject  of  compromise.  Congress  had  no  right  to  legislate,  we  are 
told,  on  the  subject  of  slavery  in  that  Territory — what  right  had  they 
to  legislate  on  any  subject  ?  What  right  had  they  in  the  first  in- 
stance to  acquire  possession  of  foreign  territory  ?     Under  the  treaty- 


MISSOURI  QUESTION.  125 

making  power,  it  is  answered.  Then  under  the  treaty-making  power 
it  must  be  governed  as  a  necessary  inference,  or  implication.  The 
proposition  to  confer  on  Congress  the  power  to  make  a  temporary 
government  for  territories  was  distinctly  rejected  by  the  framers  of 
the  Constitution.  Any  specific  grant  to  that  effect  is  not  pretended. 
Congress  has  the  right  to  make  treaties — this  confers  on  them  the 
power  to  purchase  by  treaty  and  to  take  possession  of  foreign  terri- 
tory— having  a  right  to  acquire  by  treaty,  the  necessary  inference  is 
that  they  have  the  right  to  make  laws  and  to  govern  the  territory  or  the 
province  acquired — this  is  the  line  of  argument.  Now  all  implied 
powers  have  no  other  limitation  on  them,  but  the  will  of  those  who 
make  the  implication — let  the  Protective  Tariff,  the  system  of  In- 
ternal Improvements  by  the  General  Government,  and  the  Bank, 
serve  as  examples  and  illustrations  of  this  truth.  When  you  go  be- 
yond the  specific  grants  and  resort  to  implication  for  such  a  distinct, 
substantive  and  important  power  as  the  one  under  consideration,  then 
all  the  limitations  in  the  Constitution  are  of  no  avail.  Take  either 
alternative,  therefore,  that  Congress  had  no  constitutional  authority 
either  to  purchase  or  to  govern  foreign  territory — or  that,  under  the 
treaty-making  power,  they  had  the  right  to  acquire  and  to  govern, 
then  there  is  no  limitation  on  the  exercise  of  the  power,  usurped  or 
implied,  save  that  imposed  by  themselves.  The  examples  and  prece- 
dents set  by  their  predecessors  constitute  their  only  guide.  The 
spirit  of  the  Constitution  as  manifested  in  these  authorities  must  be 
their  only  rule  of  action.  It  was  precisely  in  accordance  with  the 
history  of  past  legislation  that  the  Missouri  compromise  was  accom- 
plished. It  seems  to  have  grown  up  as  a  tacit,  though  well  under- 
stood agreement,  that  North  of  a  certain  line  involuntary  servitude 
should  not  exist,  and  South  of  it  slavery  should  be  tolerated.  The 
compromise  ordinance  of  1787  originated  in  this  feeling. 

Repeated  attempts  at  an  early  day  were  made  in  Indiana  and  Il- 
linois to  suspend  the  article  of  the  Ordinance  prohibiting  slavery  be- 
yond the  Ohio — but  they  were  always  opposed  and  defeated  by  South- 
ern men.  On  the  contrary,  when  the  provisions  of  the  Ordinance 
were  extended  to  Southern  territory,  the  article  on  the  subject  of 
slavery  was  striken  out.  Thus  there  grew  up  from  the  nature  of  the 
case,  and  under  the  force  of  circumstances,  a  sort  of  common  law  un- 
derstanding, that  all  North  of  a  certain  line,  restrictions  on  the  sub- 


126  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

ject  of  slavery  should  be  enforced,  and  South  of  it,  they  should  be 
removed.  When,  therefore,  the  question  was  raised  in  regard  to 
newly  acquired  foreign  territory,  the  same  rule  was  enforced.  It  was 
imposed  by  a  combined  northern  majority  on  the  South  who,  without 
a  dissenting  voice,  steadily  opposed  it.  This  geographical  majority 
ingrafted  on  the  Missouri  bill  a  provision — "  that  in  all  that  territory 
teded  by  France  to  the  United  States,  under  the  name  of  Louisiana, 
which  lies  north  of  thirty-six  degrees  and  thirty  minutes  north  lati- 
tude, not  included  within  the  limits  of  the  State  contemplated  by  this 
act,  slavery  and  involuntary  servitude,  otherwise  than  in  the  punish- 
ment of  crimes,  whereof  the  parties  shall  have  been  duly  convicted, 
shall  be  and  is  hereby  for  ever  prohibited."  Thus  we  see  that  the  line 
was  extended  and  definitely  laid  down  by  northern  men.  The  whole 
South  voted  against  it  under  the  impression  that  Congress  had  no 
right  to  legislate  on  the  subject ;  but  we  have  seen  their  error  in  sup- 
posing that  there  were  any  constitutional  provisions  on  the  subject  at 
all — and  that,  whether  as  usurped  or  implied  power,  there  was  no 
other  limitation  on  it,  save  that  of  precedent  and  authority.  And  it 
was  precisely  in  accordance  with  precedent  and  authority,  and  the 
common  sentiment  silently  grown  up  among  the  States,  that  this  line 
was  laid  down  and  extended.  The  northern  men  took  on  themselves 
the  fearful  responsibility  of  acting  alone  in  this  business.  They  dic- 
tated the  line  and  said  by  that  we  will  stand.  All  subsequent  legis- 
lation has  been  based  on  the  faith  of  this  pledge.  Iowa  has  been  ad- 
mitted as  a  State  into  the  Union — Minnesota  and  Oregon  organized 
as  Territories  on  its  faith.  And  can  any  reasonable  man  see  why 
this  line  should  not  as  well  extend  to  the  Pacific  ocean,  as  to  the 
Rocky  Mountains?  to  the  territories  recently  acquired  of  Mexico,  as 
well  as  to  those  which  in  1803  were  purchased  of  France?  There  is 
no  constitutional  authority  for  the  acquisition  or  the  government  of 
either  as  territory  or  a  province — the  necessity  of  the  case  in  the 
first  instance,  and  the  subsequent  'practice  of  the  government,  can 
alone  be  adduced  as  justification  and  authority. 

The  same  rules,  precedents,  and  examples,  apply  as  well  in  the 
one  case  as  in  the  other.  And  above  all,  that  overwhelming  senti- 
ment of  justice,  that  spirit  of  concession  and  compromise,  which  pre- 
sided over  the  birth  and  infancy  of  the  Constitution,  and  preserved  it 
from  destruction  when  well-nigh  torn  asunder  by  the  Missouri  con- 


COMPROMISE  BILL.  127 

vulsion,  urge  on  us  now  with  tenfold  force,  at  a  moment  when  all  the 
nations  of  the  earth  are  torn  up  from  their  deep  foundations — and 
this  blessed  Constitution  stands  as  the  only  sheltering  rock  in  whose 
broad  shadow,  far  stretching  over  the  dark  waters,  their  scattered 
fragments  may  come  together  and  be  re-formed.  If  the  sentiment  of 
brotherly  forbearance,  if  a  generous  pride  in  the  glory  and  prosperity 
of  our  common  country  do  not  prevail  at  this  crisis,  we  shall  then 
hang  our  heads  in  sorrow,  mourn  over  the  departed  spirit  of  our  fa- 
thers, and  look  with  fearful  forebodings  on  that  dark  demon,  that  has 
come  to  usurp  its  place — the  mad  spirit  of  fanaticism,  engendered  in 
ambition  and  fostered  by  the  lust  of  plunder  and  dominion. 


CHAPTER  XIII. 

COMPROMISE   BILL   SMUGGLED   THROUGH   THE   HOUSE. 

Mr.  Randolph's  opposition  to  the  Missouri  Bill,  with  the  obnoxious 
clause  in  it  prohibiting  slavery  beyond  a  certain  line,  was  very  de- 
cided. In  common  with  the  southern  members,  he  regarded  the 
whole  proceeding  as  unconstitutional — destructive  of  the  vital  in- 
terests of  the  South — a  dangerous  precedent,  that  might  be  used  for 
still  greater  encroachments  hereafter — and  would  listen  to  no  com- 
promise on  the  subject.  One  night,  when  the  House  was  engaged  in 
debating  the  great  question,  and  there  seemed  but  a  faint  prospect 
of  its  adjustment,  Mr.  Randolph,  it  is  said,  accosted  Mr.  Clay,  the 
Speaker  of  the  House,  who,  for  a  moment,  was  absent  from  the  chair, 
and  said  to  him,  «  Mr.  Speaker,  I  wish  you  would  quit  the  chair,  and 
leave  the  House  ;  I  will  follow  you  to  Kentucky,  or  any  where  else." 
Mr.  Randolph  was  told,  in  reply,  that  his  proposition  was  a  very  seri- 
ous one  ;  and  that  if  he  would  meet  Mr.  Clay  the  next  morning,  in 
the  Speaker's  room,  the  latter  would  converse  with  him  fully  on  the 
whole  subject.  The  interview  accordingly  took  place,  and  the  parties 
had  a  long  conversation,  relating,  principally,  to  the  propriety  of  a 
compromise.  Mr.  Randolph  was  decidedly  opposed  to  any  compro- 
mise, and  Mr.   Clay  was  in  favor  of  acceding  to  one,  if  it  could  be 


128  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

done  without  any  sacrifice  of  principle.  After  the  termination  of  this 
interview,  they  never  exchanged  salutations,  or  spoke  to  each  other 
again,  during  the  session.  We  do  not  vouch  for  the  truth  of  this 
statement ;  but  it  is  very  certain,  that  Mr.  Randolph  spoke  in  no 
measured  terms  of  the  course  of  the  Speaker  of  the  House  (Mr.  Clay) 
on  the  subject  of  the  compromise,  and  charged  him  with  taking  ad- 
vantage of  his  office,  and  conniving,  if  not  actually  aiding,  in  smug- 
gling the  bill  through  the  House,  contrary  to  the  rules  of  proceeding, 
thereby  depriving  him  and  other  members  of  their  constitutional 
right  to  a  final  vote,  on  a  motion  for  reconsideration,  which  the 
Speaker  knew  Mr.  Randolph  was  about  to  make. 

His  own  account  of  that  transaction  is  so  graphic,  so  character- 
istic of  the  man,  that  we  here  give  it  to  the  reader  entire. 

"  On  the  night  that  that  bill  had  its  last  vote  in  the  House,  my 
colleague,  W.  S.  Archer,  was  a  new  member.  I  declared,  publicly 
and  openly,  that  in  case  that  bill  should  pass,  with  the  amendment 
then  proposed,  unless  another  amendment  should  succeed — which 
did  not  succeed — I  declared,  conditionally,  that  I  should  move  for 
a  reconsideration  of  the  vote.  Myself  and  my  colleague,  who,  with 
another  gentleman,  whom  I  shall  not  refer  to,  though  near  me 
(Mr.  Macon),  were  the  only  persons  whom  I  have  heard  of,  be- 
longing to  the  Southern  interest,  who  determined  to  have  no  com- 
promise at  all  on  this  subject.  They  determined  to  cavil  on  the  nine- 
tieth part  of  a  hair,  in  a  matter  of  sheer  right,  touching  the  dearest 
interests,  the  life-blood  of  the  Southern  States.  The  House  was  ex- 
hausted ;  a  gentleman  fainted  in  front  of  the  chair,  and  tumbled  on 
the  ground.  In  this  state  of  things,  my  colleague  asked  whether  it 
would  not  do  as  well  to  put  off  the  motion  till  to-morrow  (for  he  was 
in  ill  health  and  much  fatigued)  1  I  said  I  could  not  agree  to  that, 
till  I  had  taken  the  opinion  of  the  court,  in  the  last  resort.  After 
that  question  had  eventuated,  as  I  foresaw  it  might,  I  rose  in  my 
place,  and  asked  of  the  Speaker  whether  it  was  in  order  to  move  a  recon- 
sideration of  the  vote.  He  said  that  it  was.  Sir,  I  am  stating  facts 
of  more  importance  to  the  civil  history  of  this  country  than  the  battle 
which  took  place  not  far  from  this.  He  said  it  was.  I  then  asked 
him  (to  relieve  my  colleague,  who  had  just  taken  his  seat  for  the  first 
time  that  session),  whether  it  would  be  in  order  to  move  the  recon- 
sideration of  the  vote,  on  the  next  day  1  He  said  something  to  this 
effect :  Surely  the  gentleman  knows  the  rules  of  the  House  too  well 
not  to  know  that  it  will  be  in  order  at  any  time  during  the  sitting,  to- 
morrow or  the  next  day.  I  replied,  I  thought  I  did  ;  but  I  wanted 
to  make  assurance  doubly  sure,  to  have  the  opinion  of  the  tribunal, 


COMPROMISE  BILL.  129 

in  the  last  rosort.  I  then  agreed — to  accommodate  my  colleague,  in 
the  state  of  exhaustion  in  which  the  House  then  was — I  agreed  to 
suspend  my  motion  for  a  reconsideration,  and  we  adjourned.  The 
next  morning,  before  either  House  met,  I  learned — no  matter  how — 
no  matter  from  whom,  or  for  what  consideration — that  it  was  in  contem- 
plation that  this  clock  (Senate  chamber),  which  is  hardly  ever  in  order, 
and  the  clock  in  the  other  House,  which  is  not  in  a  better  condition, 
should  somehow  disagree ;  that  the  Speaker  should  not  take  his  seat 
in  the  House  till  the  President  had  taken  his  seat  here  ;  and  then, 
that  when  I  went  into  the  House  to  make  my  motion,  I  was  to  be 
told  that  the  Chair  regretted  very  much  that  the  clerk  had  gone  off 
with  the  bill ;  that  it  was  not  in  their  possession,  and  the  case  was 
irreparable ;  and  yet  I  recollect  very  well,  when  we  applied  to  the 
Secretary  of  State  for  a  parchment  roll  of  an  act  which  had  not  been 
duly  enrolled,  two  sections  were  left  out  by  the  carelessness  of  the 
clerks  and  of  the  committee  of  enrollment.  That  act  was,  by  the 
House  of  Representatives,  in  which  it  originated,  procured  from  the 
archives  of  the  Department  of  State,  and  put  on  the  statute  books,  as 
it  passed — not  as  it  was  on  the  roll — and  enrolled  anew.  It  was  the 
act  for  the  relief  of  the  captors  of  the  Mirboha  and  Missonda.  As 
soon  as  I  understood  this,  sir,  T  went  to  the  Speaker  myself,  and 
told  him  that  I  must  have  my  vote  for  reconsideration  that  day. 

"  I  can  only  say  that  I  inferred — not  from  what  he  told  me — that 
my  information  was  correct.  I  came  off  immediately  to  this  House 
(Senate.)  It  wanted  about  twenty  minutes  of  the  time  when  the  Sen- 
ate was  to  meet.  I  saw  that  most  respectable  man  whom  we  have 
just  lost,  and  begged  to  speak  with  him  in  private.  We  retired  to  a 
committee  room,  and  to  prevent  intrusion  we  locked  the  door.  I  told 
him  of  the  conspiracy  laid  to  defeat  me  of  my  constitutional  right  to 
move  a  reconsideration,  (though  I  think  it  a  dangerous  rule,  and 
always  voted  against  its  being  put  on  the  rules  at  all,  believing  that, 
to  prevent  tampering  and  collusion,  the  vote  to  reconsider  ought  to 
be  taken  instantly,  yet,  sir,  as  it  was  then,  I  had  a  right  to  make  the 
motion.)  I  told  this  gentleman  that  he  might,  by  taking  the  chair 
of  the  Senate  sooner  than  the  true  time,  lend  himself  unconsciously 
to  this  conspiracy  against  my  constitutional  rights  as  a  member  of 
the  other  House  from  the  State  of  Virginia.  I  spoke,  sir,  to  a  man 
of  honor  and  a  gentleman,  and  it  is  unnecessary  to  say  that  he  did 
not  take  the  chair  till  the  proper  hour  arrived.  As  soon  as  that  hour 
arrived,  we  left  the  committee  room  together.  I  went  on  to  the 
House  of  Representatives,  and  found  them  in  session,  and  the  clerk 
reading  the  journal,  meanwhile  there  had  been  runners  through  the 
long  passage,  which  was  then  made  of  plauk,  I  think,  between  the 
two  Houses,  hunting  for  Mr.  Gaillard.  Where  is  he?  He  is  not  to 
be  found.     The  House  of  Representatives  having  organized  itself, 

vol.  n.  6* 


130  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH 

when  I  came  in  from  the  door  of  the  Senate,  I  found  the  clerk  read- 
ing the  journal ;  the  moment  after  he  had  finished  it  I  made  the  mo- 
tion, and  was  seconded  by  my  colleague,  Mr.  Archer,  to  whom  I  could 
appeal — not  that  my  testimony  wants  evidence.  I  should  like  to  see 
the  man  who  would  question  it  on  a  matter  of  fact.  This  fact  is  well 
remembered  ;  a  lady  would  as  soon  forget  her  wedding  day  as  I  forget 
this.  The  motion  to  reconsider  was  opposed ;  it  was  a  debateable 
question,  and  the  Speaker  stated  something  this  way — 'that  it  was 
not  for  him  to  give  any  orders  ;  the  Clerk  knew  his  duty.'  The  Clerk 
went  more  than  once — my  impression  is,  that  he  went  more  than 
twice.  I  could  take  my  oath,  and  so,  I  believe,  could  Mr.  Archer, 
that  he  made  two  efforts,  and  came  back  under  my  eye,  like  a  mouse 
under  the  eye  of  a  cat,  with  the  engrossed  bill  in  his  hand.  His 
bread  was  at  stake.  At  last  he,  with  that  pace,  and  countenance,  and 
manner,  which  only  conscious  guilt  can  inspire,  went  off,  his  poverty, 
not  his  will  consenting ;  and  before  the  debate  was  finished,  back  he 
comes  with  the  bill,  from  the  Senate,  which  had  then  become  a  law, 
before  it  was  decided  whether  they  would  reconsider  it  at  my  mo- 
tion or  not,  which  motion  nailed  the  bill  to  the  table  until  it  should 
have  been  disposed  of.  Notorious  as  these  facts  are,  so  anxious  was 
one  side  of  that  House  to  cover  up  their  defection  ;  such  was  the  anx- 
iety of  the  other  to  get  Missouri  in  on  any  conditions,  that  this  thing 
was  hushed  up,  just  as  the  suspension  of  the  Habeas  Corpus  was 
hushed  up. 

"  The  bill  was  passed  through  the  forms  of  law.  Missouri  was  ad- 
mitted into  the  Union  contrary  to  the  Constitution,  as  much  so  as  if 
I  had  voted  the  other  way  in  the  first  instance,  and  the  Speaker  had 
ordered  the  Clerk  to  put  my  name  with  the  ayes  in  the  journal  when 
I  had  voted  no — because,  sir,  agreeably  to  the  Constitution  of  the 
United  States  every  member  has  a  right  to  his  vote,  under  the  forms 
of  the  House,  whether  these  forms  are  wise  or  foolish  ;  and  my  col- 
league and  myself  were  ousted  out  of  our  right  to  reconsider,  for 
which  I  would  not  have  taken  all  the  land  within  the  State  of  Mis- 
souri." 

Mr.  Randolph  was  greatly  excited  during  the  agitation  of  the 
Missouri  question ;  he  did  not  sleep  of  nights ;  and  his  energetic, 
quick  temper,  exasperated  by  the  scenes  around  him,  inflamed  by 
long  watching  and  anxiety,  gave  a  peculiar  force  and  piquancy  to  all 
he  said.  His  indignation  was  particularly  levelled  at  Mr.  Clay,  not 
that  he  had  any  personal  dislike  to  that  gentleman,  apart  from  his 
political  course,  but  as  he  was  the  leader  of  the  spurious  Republican 
party  then  in  the  ascendent,  Mr.  Randolph  thought  him  entitled  to 
the  animadversions  that  were  aimed  at  the  party  itself,  particularly 


COMPROMISE  BILL.  131 

as  he  was  not  only  their  leader,  but  their  chief  spokesman,  setting 
forth  on  all  occasions,  and  embellishing  their  doctrines  by  his  copious 
and  ornate  style  of  oratory. 

Old  minority  men,  turned  courtiers,  and  whitewashed  Federalists, 
composed  the  self-styled  Republican  party,  when  in  truth  they  did 
not  possess  the  first  principle — the  doctrine  of  State  rights,  that 
should  characterize  a  party  bearing  that  title.  Mr.  Clay's  course  on 
the  bank  in  1811,  and  again  in  1816,  his  course  on  internal  improve- 
ments, and  his  conduct  in  regard  to  "  the  compromise,"  as  it  was  un- 
derstood by  all  strict  constructionists,  eminently  fitted  him  for  the 
leadership  of  such  a  mongrel  party ;  and  surely  he  was  not  spared  in 
the  animadversions  of  those  who  perceived  the  old  leaven  of  Federal- 
ism penetrating  the  whole  mass  under  the  shallow  disguise  of  a  new 
name. 

In  the  following  strictures  Mr.  Randolph  is  particularly  pointed 
and  severe. 

"  The  anniversary  of  Washington's  birth-day  (says  he,  in  a  letter 
to  Dr.  Brockenbrough,  Feb.  23d,  1820)  will  be  a  memorable  day  in  the 
history  of  my  life,  if  indeed  any  history  shall  be  attached  to  it.  Yes- 
terday, I  spoke  four  hours  and  a  half  to  as  attentive  an  audience  as 
ever  listened  to  a  public  speaker.  Every  eye  was  riveted  upon  me, 
save  one,  and  that  was  sedulously  and  affectedly  turned  away.  The 
ears,  however,  were  drinking  up  the  words  as  those  of  the  royal  Dane 
imbibed  "  the  juice  of  cursed  heberon,"  though  not,  like  his,  uncon- 
scious of  the  leprous  distilment ;  as  I  could  plainly  perceive  by  the 
play  of  the  muscles  of  the  face,  and  the  coming  and  going  of  the 
color,  and  the  petty  agitation  of  the  whole  man,  like  the  affected  fidget 
and  flirt  of  the  fan  whereby  a  veteran  coquette  endeavors  to  hide  her 
chagrin  from  the  spectators  of  her  mortification. 

"  This  person  was  no  other  than  Mr.  Speaker  himself,  the  only 
man  in  the  House  to  whose  attention  I  had  a  right.  He  left  the  chair, 
called  Cobb  to  it.  paced  the  lobby  at  the  back  of  it  in  great  agitation, 
resumed,  read  MSS.,  newspapers,  printed  documents  on  the  table 
(i.  e.  affected  to  read  them),  beckoned  the  attendants,  took  snuff, 
looked  at  his  shoe-buckles,  at  his  ruffles,  towards  the  other  side  of  the 
House — every  where  but  at  me.  I  had  mentioned  to  him  as  deli- 
cately as  I  could,  that  being  unable  to  catch  his  eye,  I  had  been 
obliged  (against  my  will,  and  what  I  thought  the  rule  of  order  and 
decorum  in  debate)  to  look  elsewhere  for  support.  This  ajjology  I 
expected  would  call  him  to  a  sense  of  what  was  due  to  himself  and 
his  station,  as  well  as  to  me  ;  but  it  had  none  effect.  At  last,  when 
you  might  have  heard  a  pin  drop  upon  the  carpet,  he  beckoned  one 


132  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

of  the  attendants  and  began  whispering  to  the  lad  (I  believe  to  fetch 
his  snuff-box).  '  Fooled  to  the  top  of  my  bent,'  I  '  checked  in  mid 
volley,'  and  said  :  '  The  rules  of  this  House,  sir,  require,  and  properly 
require,  every  member  when  he  speaks  to  address  himself  respectfully 
to  Mr.  Speaker ;  to  that  rule,  which  would  seem  to  imply  a  correla- 
tive duty  of  respectful  attention  on  the  part  of  the  Chair,  I  always 
adhere  ;  never  seeking  for  attention  in  the  countenances  of  the  mem- 
bers, much  less  of  the  spectators  and  auditors  in  the  lobby  or  the  gal- 
lery :  as,  however,  I  find  the  Chair  resolutely  bent  on  not  attending 
to  me,  I  shall  take  my  seat :'  which  I  did  accordingly.  The  chas- 
tisement was  so  deserved,  so  studiously  provoked,  that  it  was  not  in 
my  nature  to  forego  inflicting  it.  Like  'Worcester's  rebellion,  it  lay 
in  my  way  and  I  found  it.1 

"  He  replied  in  a  subdued  tone  of  voice,  and  with  a  manner  quite 
changed  from  his  usual  petulance  and  arrogance  (for  it  is  generally 
one  or  t'other,  sometimes  both),  '  that  he  had  paid  all  possible  atten- 
tion,' &c,  which  was  not  true,  in  fact :  for  from  the  time  that  I  en- 
tered upon  the  subject  of  his  conduct  in  relation  to  the  bank  in  1811 
(renewal  of  old  charter),  and  in  1816  (the  new  bank),  and  on  inter- 
nal improvements,  &c.  (quoting  his  words  in  his  last  speech,  that 
'  this  was  a  limited,  cautiously  restricted  government'),  and  held  up 
the  '  Compromise'  in  its  true  colors,  he  never  once  glanced  his  eye 
upon  me  but  to  withdraw  it,  as  if  he  had  seen  a  basilisk. 

"  Some  of  the  pretenders  to  the  throne,  if  not  the  present  incum- 
bent, will  hold  me  from  that  day  forth  in  cherished  remembrance.  I 
have  not  yet  done,  however,  with  the  pope  or  the  pretenders,  their 
name  is  legion. 

':  My  dear  friend,  I  have  been  up  since  three  o'clock  ;  as  soon  as 
I  could  see  to  write  I  began  this  letter,  if  it  deserve  the  name  of  one. 
I  have  received  my  death-wound  on  Tuesday,  the  1st,  and  Wednes- 
day, the  2d  of  February.  Had  I  not  spoken  on  the  last  of  these 
days,  I  might  have  weathered  this  point  and  clawed  off  of  death's  lee 
shore.  My  disease  is  assuming  a  hectic  type.  I  believe  the  lungs 
are  affected  symptomatically,  through  sympathy  with  the  liver,  at 
least  I  hope  so.  Yet  why  hope  when  the  vulture  daily  whets  his 
beak  for  a  repast  upon  my  ever-growing  liver,  and  his  talons  are  fixed 
in  my  very  vitals?  I  am  done  with  public  life,  as  soon  as  the  business 
of  Congress  will  permit  me  to  leave  it ;  at  any  rate,  immediately  after 
the  adjournment  I  shall  travel — perhaps  take  a  sea  voyage,  not  to 
get  rid  of  duns  (although  the  wolf  will  be  at  my  door  in  the  shape 
of  the  man  I  bought  that  land  of),  but  to  take  the  only  chance  of 
prolonging  a  life,  that  I  trust  is  now  not  altogether  useless. 

'•  Remember  me  kindly  to  all  friends  ;  respectfully  to  Mr.  Roane. 
Tell  him  that  I  have  fulfilled  his  injunction,  and  I  trust  proved 
myself  '  a  zealous,  and  consistent,   and  (I  wish  I  could  add)  able 


! 


COMPROMISE  BILL.  133 

defender  of  State  Rights.'     I  have  yet  to  settle  with  the  Supreme 

Court 

"'I  am  hurt — a  plague  of  both  the  Houses — I  am  sped  !  'Tis  not 
so  deep  as  a  well,  nor  so  wide  as  a  church  door,  but  'twill  serve :  ask 
for  me  to-morrow,  and  you  shall  find  me  a  grave  man.'  " 

The  foregoing,  and  other  lettez-s  that  followed  close  upon  it  in 

quick  succession,  show  the  diseased  condition  of  body,  and  the  excited 

and  feverish  state  of  mind  under  which  Mr.  Randolph  was  laboriDg 

at  this  time. 

/  Thursday  morning.  5  o'clock,  Feb.  24,  1820. 

'•  I  have  been  up  since  half  past  three.  My  sensations  are  indes- 
cribable. The  night  before  last  I  had  a  return  of  the  spasms.  At 
present  I  am  free  from  pain ;  but  what  I  feel  is  worse  than  pain,  un- 
less in  its  most  acute  form,  and  even  then  I  think  I  could  better  bear 
it.  Whatever  it  be,  something  is  passing  in  the  nobler  viscera  of  no 
ordinary  character.  They  have  got  a  Missouri  question  there,  that 
threatens  a  divulsion  of  soul  from  body.  Nausea  in  its  worst  form 
(sea  sickness)  is  not  equal  to  what  I  feel.  I  have  it  slightly,  accom- 
panied with  a  sinking  of  the  spirits,  a  soul-sickness,  a  sensation 
as  if  I  should  swoon  away  instantly  ;  meantime,  diarrhoea  is  not  idle, 
from  twenty  to  fifty  calls  in  the  four  and  twenty  hours.  Every  thing 
I  eat  (only  milk  and  crackers,  heated  over  again  in  the  oven)  passes 
unchanged.    So  did  gruel  when  I  took  some  well  boiled  and  gelatinous. 

"  You  will  not  see  my  name  on  the  yeas  and  nays  yesterday  on  the 
Senate's  bill.  I  could  not  remain  in  the  house,  the  air  of  which  is 
unchanged  for  weeks.  It  smells  like  a  badly  kept  comodite,  (shouldn't 
there  be  two  m's  in  that  word  ?)  and  even  worse,  for  you  have  in  ad- 
dition to  ordure  and  urine  all  the  exhalations  that  overpowered  Matt. 
Bramble  at  a  fashionable  squeeze,  and  stale  tobacco  smoke  into  the 
bargain  ;  cigars  are  smoked  in  the  ante-room.  The  avenues  to  our 
hall  are  narrow,  mean,  dark  and  dangerous,  and  when  you  pass  the 
first  portal,  you  are  assailed  by  a  compound  of  villanous  smells,  which 
is  only  a  little  more  diluted  when  you  emerge  into  light,  or  rather 
darkness  visible  through  cross  lights  that  torture  the  eye. 

"  My  faithful  Juba  is  sick,  very  sick,  and  four  nights  ago  I  heard 
him  in  his  sleep  cry  out  '  I  wish  I  and  master  teas  at  home.'  These 
Yankees  have  almost  reconciled  me  to  negro  slavery.  They  have 
produced  a  revulsion  even  on  my  mind,  what  then  must  the  effect  be 
on  those  who  had  no  scruples  on  the  subject.  I  am  persuaded  that 
the  cause  of  humanity  to  these  unfortunates  has  been  put  back  a 
century,  certainly  a  generation,  by  the  unprincipled  conduct  of  am- 
bitious men.  availing  themselves  of  a  good  as  well  as  of  a  fanatical 
spirit  in  the  nation. 

"  Tell  Mrs.  Brockenbrough  that  Mr.  Meade  makes  anxious  inqui- 


134  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

ries  about  the  state  of  her  mind  on  the  subject  of  religious  opinions. 
He  and  Frank  Key  are  with  us  on  the  question.  Frank  has  just  re- 
turned from  Frederick,  where  he  was  summoned  a  fortnight  ago  to 
attend  a  (supposed)  dying  father.  The  old  gentleman  is  recovering 
slowly.  What  must  it  have  been  to  have  his  bedside  attended  by 
such  a  son  !  He  is  indeed  as  near  perfection  as  our  poor  nature  can 
go,  although  he  would  be  shocked  to  hear  it  said.  Severe  to  him- 
self, considerate  and  indulgent  to  others,  speaking  ill  of  none.  Day 
is  breaking  ;  good  morning." 

"  J.  R.  of  R.  to  J.  B.,  a  letter,  like  Mrs.  Rowe's,  from  the  dead 
to  the  living. 

Saturday,  Feb.  26,  1820. 

"  Hear  all  ye  nations  !  Last  evening  the  late  J.  R.  of  R.  who  is 
'  stone  dead  (the  major)  precisely ',  went  to  Mrs.  F h's  '  con- 
sort ' — said  dead  man  being  like  any  other  great  personage  deceased, 
tired  of  '  toujours  perdrix.'  (N.  B.  :  the  plural  of  this  French  noun- 
substantive  is  perdros,  according  to  Mr.  Speaker  Clay,  who  has  been 
to  Paris,  aye,  and  to  Ghent  too  ;  and  ought  surely  to  know.)  Why 
shouldn't  dead  men  enjoy  a  little  variety  as  well  as  folks  that  talk  in 
their  sleep  in  Congress  ? — and  there  were  '  lots  of  them '  there  — 
(see  Tom  Crib).  The  French  lady  proved  to  be  a  noun-adjective, 
as  old  Lilly  hath  it,  she  'could  not  stand  by  herself  (or  would  not) 
for  after  some  execrable  airs,  at  the  beginning  of  the  third  (not  the 
third  by  at  least  thirty — it  is  Dogberry  who,  after  '  sixthly  and  lastly' 
brings  in  '  thirdly')  she  enacted  something  like  a  fit,  and  threw  her- 
self into  the  arms  of  a  gentleman  (not  a  false  concord  I  hope — I 
trust  it  was  her  husband),  whereupon  the  'dead  man'  not  the  'mas- 
ter of  the  rolls  '  (he  deals  only  in  crackers)  '  opened  wide  his  mouth ' 
and  called  a  coach  and  threw  himself  into  it  and  drove  home,  not 
sha/n-sick.  I  was  heartily  glad  of  our  early  dismission,  and  after  an 
almost  sleepless  night,  me  void,  at  my  daily  occupation,  by  day- 
break, boring  you. 

"  I  learn  from  a  very  direct  source,  that  this  lady  was  an  obscure 

girl,  whom  Mrs.  B 11  '  patronized  '  and  placed  at  Mad.  Rivaldi's 

boarding-school  ;  where  the  protegee  was  shown  off  to  the   glory  of 

the  patroness,  and  sung  at  Mad.  R 's  concerts  and  married  one 

of  the  teachers,  and  in  short,  has  been  used  to  exhibition  and  dis- 
play from  the  egg-shell.  I  felt  very  much  ashamed  of  being  there, 
not  because  the  room  was  mean  and  badly  lighted,  and  dirty,  and  the 
company  ill  dressed,  but  because  I  saw,  for  the  first  time,  an  Ameri- 
can woman  singing  for  hire.  I  would  import  our  actors,  singers, 
tumblers  and  jack-puddings,  if  we  must  have  such  cattle,  from  Eu- 
rope. Hyde  dc  Neuville.  a  Frenchman,  agreed  with  me,  'that  although 
the  lady  was  universally  admitted  to  be  very  amiable,  it  was  a  danger- 
ous example.'     At  first  {on  dit)  she  was  unaffected  and  sang  natu- 


COMPROMISE  BILL.  135 

rally,  and,  I  am  told,  agreeably  enough,  but  now  she  is  a  bundle  of 
'  affectations  '  (as  Sir  Hugh  hath  it),  and  reminds  me  of  the  little 
screech  '  owels '  as  they  say  on  '  the  south  side?  Her  voice  is  not  bad, 
but  she  is  utterly  destitute  of  a  single  particle  of  taste  or  judgment. 
Were  she  a  lady  and  I  in  her  company,  my  politeness  should  never 
induce  me  to  punish  myself  by  asking  her  to  sing. 

"A  member  from  Virginia,  whose  avoirdupois  entitles  him  to 
weight,  as  well  as  his  being  a  sort  of  commis  to  the  P.,  told  me  yes- 
terday, '  that  the  tale  in  circulation  of  the  P.  having  written  a  let- 
ter to  Mr.  Roane,  declaring  his  disapprobation  of  the  compromise, 
was  an  idle  scandal,  for  that  he  had  seen  the  letter  (or  rather  that  it 
bad  been  read  to  him)  and  there  was  no  such  sentiment  expressed  in 
it.'     Hem  !     Pretty  good  !     Don't  you  think  so  1 

'•'•  When  Mrs.  F.  was  '  screeching,'  I  was  strongly  reminded  of  two 
lines  of  a  mock  Methodist  hymn,  that  poor  John  Hollingsworth  used 
to  sing,  when  we  were  graceless  youths  at  college — 

"  '  0 !  that  I,  like  Madame  French, 
Could  raise  my  '  vice''  on  high, 
Thy  name  should  last  like  oaken  bench, 
To  parpctui-ty.: 

"  The  same  '  two  single  gentlemen  rolled  into  one,'  told  me  that 

M e  expressed  a  desire  to  maintain  the  relations  of  peace  and 

amity  and  social  intercourse,  with  me ;  that  he  did  not  stand  upon 
etiquette ;  did  not  require  any  gentleman  to  pay  him  the  respect  of  a 
call  in  the  first  instance ;  gave  examples  to  that  effect,  some  of  which 
I  know  to  be  true  (N.  B.  election  coming  on),  and  that  he  should  have 
sent  his  invitations  to  me  as  well  as  to  the  rest,  but  that  he  thought 
they  would  not  be  acceptable — that  I  had  repelled,  &c,  &c,  &c. 

"  Whereupon  I  said  that  I  had  not  seen  said  great  man  but  once 
(Friday,  the  11th,  riding  by,  after  Mr.  King's  speech  in  the  Senate) 
since  the  Georgetown  sheep-shearing,  in  the  spring  of  1812.  That  I 
had  called  more  than  once  that  spring,  on  him  and  Madame,  and  not 
at  home  was  the  invariable  reply ;  that  he  had  invited  Garnett,  as  it 
were  out  of  my  own  apartment  that  year,  to  dine  with  General  Mo- 
reau,  Lewis  and  Stanford,  the  only  M.  C's  that  lodged  there  besides 
myself,  and  omitted  to  ask  me,  who  had  a  great  desire  to  see  Moreau  ; 
that  I  lacqueyed  the  heels  of  no  great  man ;  that  I  had  a  very  good 
dinner  at  home,  which  I  could  not  eat,  although  served  at  an  hour 
that  I  was  used  to  ;  and  that  I  was  very  well,  as  I  was,  &c.  Hodijah 
Meade  writes  Archer  that  I  am  becoming  popular,  even  in  Amelia. 
Perhaps  the  great  man  has  heard  something  to  this  effect. 

"  Write  me  volumes — all  your  news,  chat,  &c.  Yesterday  we 
'  settled  the  chat,'  not  by  the  rules  of '  the  Finish'  (see  Tom  Crib),  but 
of  the  House  of  Commons,  actually  coughing,  and  scraping,  and  '  ques- 
tion' questioning  some  brave  fellows  that  made  a  stout  resistance  to 


136  LIFE  0F  J0HN  RANDOLPH. 

be  heard,  but  were  outnumbered.  I  was  not  party  to  the  outrage — 
did  not  cough  nor  cry,  but  I  heard  the  speaker's  voice  above  the  rest. 
G-.  T.  spoke  the  last — promised  us  novelty  at  least,  borrowed  largely 
from  Pinkney,  P.  Barbour,  and  your  humble  servant,  during  three 
quarters  of  an  hour  that  I  listened  to  him,  when  I  left  him,  I  believe, 

without  a  single  auditor  except  Mr.   Chairman  C b  !  as  very  a 

'  Johnny  Raw'  as  ever  entered  a  ring.  See  again  my  standard  au- 
thority, Tom  Crib.': 


CHAPTER    XIV. 

"I   NOW   GO   FOR  BLOOD" — MADNESS. 

Immediately  on  the  settlement  of  that  exciting  subject — the  Missouri 
question — followed  the  death  of  Commodore  Decatur,  who  fell  in  a 
duel  the  20th  March,  1820,  with  Commodore  Barron.  This  sad 
event  produced  a  shock  throughout  the  community.  The  gallant 
seaman  lived  in  the  hearts  of  his  countrymen.  His  untimely  end 
shrouded  the  country  in  mourning.  The  occasion,  the  manner,  and 
the  place — not  on  the  proud  deck,  in  face  of  the  enemies  of  his  coun- 
try, added  poignancy  to  their  grief.  None  felt  more  deeply  on  the 
occasion  than  John  Randolph.  They  were  friends,  and  they  were  kin- 
dred spirits.  To  lose  so  noble  a  soul  from  among  the  few  whose  love 
he  cherished,  under  such  painful  circumstances,  and  at  a  time  when  the 
country  could  illy  spare  so  gallant  a  heart,  was  more  than  his  weak 
frame  could  endure.  Worn  out  with  excessive  watching  and  anx- 
iety on  the  momentous  question  which  had  well  nigh  torn  the  Union 
asunder,  emaciated  with  disease  bodily  and  mental,  that  for  years  had 
known  no  intermission,  with  the  keen  sensibility  of  a  woman,  delicate 
as  a  sensitive  plant,  this  last  calamity  proved  too  rude  an  assault  on 
the  nicely  balanced,  mysteriously  wrought  machinery  of  mind,  which 
went  whirling  and  dashing  in  mad  disorder,  and  defying  for  a  time 
the  controlling  influence  of  the  master's  will. 

His  conduct  on  the  occasion  of  the  funeral  of  Commodore  Decatur 
is  said  to  have  been  very  extravagant.  The  cold  and  heartless  world, 
that  is  unconscious  of  any  thing  else  but  a  selfish  motive,  and  the  igno- 


MADNESS.  137 

rant  multitude  that  followed  the  funeral  pageant,  with  gaping  mouth, 
agreed  on  a  common  explanation  of  his  extravagance  by  proclaiming 
"  the  man  is  mad  /" 

That  he  might  have  been  greatly  excited  in  manner  and  conver- 
sation, and  that  he  was  wholly  indifferent  as  to  what  other  people 
might  say  or  think  of  him,  is  highly  probable.  All  his  friends  agree  that 
his  mind,  from  the  cause  above  alluded  to,  had  been  wrought  up  to 
the  highest  pitch  of  fervor,  and  that,  like  a  highly-charged  electric 
battery,  it  threw  off  brilliant  and  fiery  sparks  that  scorched  and  burnt 
the  uncautious  person  who  had  the  temerity  to  approach  too  near. 

This  highly  charged  electric  state  of  mind — it  can  be  likened  to 
nothing  else — lasted  through  the  spring.  Mr.  Anderson,  the  Cashier 
of  the  United  States  Branch  Bank,  in  Hichmond,  says  that  about  the 
20th  of  April,  1820,  Mr.  Kandolph  came  into  the  Bank  and  asked  for 
writing  materials  to  write  a  check.  He  dipped  his  pen  in  the  ink, 
and  finding  that  it  was  black,  asked  for  red  ink,  saying,  "  I  now  go  for 
blood."  He  filled  the  check  up,  and  asked  Mr.  Anderson  to  write  his 
name  to  it.  Mr.  Anderson  refused  to  write  his  name  ;  and  after  im- 
portuning that  gentleman  for  some  time,  he  called  for  black  ink,  and 
signed  John  Randolph,  of  Roanoke,  txj  his  mark.  He  then  called 
for  the  porter,  and  sent  the  check  to  Mr.  Taylor's,  to  pay  an  account. 
Ci  One  day  I  was  passing  along  the  street,"  says  Mr.  Anderson,  "  when 
Mr.  Randolph  hailed  me  in  a  louder  voice  than  usual.  The  first 
cmestion  he  asked  me  was.  whether  I  knew  of  a  good  ship  in  the 
James  River,  in  which  he  could  get  a  passage  for  England.  He  said 
he  had  been  sick  of  a  remittent  and  intermittent  fever  for  forty  days, 
and  his  physician  said  he  must  go  to  England.  I  told  him  there 
were  no  ships  here  fit  for  his  accommodation,  and  that  he  had  better 
go  to  New-York,  and  sail  from  that  port.  '  Do  you  think,'  said  he, 
'  I  would  give  my  money  to  those  who  are  ready  to  make  my  negroes 
cut  my  throat? — if  I  cannot  go  to  England  from  a  Southern  port  I 
will  not  go  at  all.'  I  then  endeavored  to  think  of  the  best  course  for 
him  to  take,  and  told  him  there  was  a  ship  in  the  river.  He  asked 
the  name  of  the  ship.  I  told  him  it  was  the  '  Henry  Clay.'  He 
threw  up  his  arms  and  exclaimed  '  Henry  Clay  !  no,  sir  !  I  will  never 
step  on  the  planks  of  a  ship  of  that  name.'  He  then  appointed  to 
meet  me  at  the  bank  at  9  o'clock.  He  came  at  the  hour,  drew  sev- 
eral checks,  exhausted  his  funds  in  the  bank,  and  asked  me  for  a  set- 


138  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

tlement  of  his  account,  saying  he  had  no  longer  any  confidence  in  the 
State  banks,  and  not  much  in  the  Bank  of  the  United  States ;  and 
that  he  would  draw  all  his  funds  out  of  the  bank,  and  put  them  in 
English  guineas — that  there  was  no  danger  of  them." 

Mr.  Randolph  spent  the  summer,  as  usual,  in  retirement  at  Roan 
oke — his  excitement  gradually  wore  away,  and  on  the  return  of  au 
tumn  he  was  himself  again.  "  I  saw  him  in  the  autumn  of  the  same 
year,  1820,  says  a  friend — he  was  then  as  perfectly  in  possession  of 
his  understanding  as  I  ever  saw  him  or  any  other  man."  He  return- 
ed to  Washington  about  the  latter  part  of  November,  and  thus  writes 
to  his  friend  Brockenbrough : 

Washington,  Nov.  26,  1820. 

Dr.  Dudley  informs  me  that  you  have  been  sick  of  the  prevailing 
Catarrh.  If  it  has  treated  you  as  roughly  as  it  has  me,  you  have 
found  it  to  be  no  trifling  complaint.  By  this  time,  I  trust  you  are  as 
free  from  it  as  I  have  always  found  you  to  be  from  other  undue  in- 
fluences. My  infirmities  of  body  and  mind,  have  nearly  obliged  me 
to  lay  aside  the  use  of  the  pen.  I  cannot  see  to  make  or  mend  one, 
and  am  wholly  at  the  mercy  of  our  stationers,  whose  pens,  like  Peter 
Pindar's  razors,  are  "  made  to  sell,"  and  whose  interest  it  is  that  fifty 
bad  pens  should  supply  the  place  of  one  good  one.  Indeed  I  have 
little  use  for  the  instrument — the  receipt  of  a  letter  being  a  rare 
event  in  my  annals.  I  ought,  perhaps,  to  take  somewhat  unkindly, 
the  withdrawal  of  my  old  correspondents  from  an  intercourse  so  bene- 
ficial on  my  side,  but  I  do  not.  A  commerce  in  which  the  advanta- 
ges are  all  on  one  side  will  never  be  prosecuted  long — what  then  must 
be  the  case  with  a  trade  in  which  (as  at  present  throughout  the  com- 
mercial world),  both  parties  are  losers. 

The  situation  of  public  affairs,  and  of  my  own  more  especially, 
disturb  my  daily  and  nightly  thoughts.  I  believe  I  must  even  make 
up  my  mind  to  "  overdraw,"  or  to  be  "  an  unfortunate  man."  Can 
you  put  me  in  no  way  to  become  a  successful  rogue  to  an  amount  that 
may  throw  an  air  of  dignity  over  the  transaction,  and  divert  the  at- 
tention of  the  gaping  spectators  from  the  enormity  of  the  offence,  to 
that  of  the  sum  1 

As  to  affairs  here,  I  know  nothing  of  them.  They  are  carried  on 
by  a  correspondence  between  Heads  of  Houses — I  do  not  mean  in 
the  University  sense  of  the  term — but  boarding-houses,  who  have  an 
understanding  with  some  Patron  in  the  Ministry,  to  whom  they  "  re- 
port themselves,"  and  from  whom  they  '•  receive  orders  "  from  time  to 
time. 

I  dined  yesterday  with  the  S.  of  the  T.,  and,  although  as  far  as  I 
was  concerned,  the  party  was  a  very  pleasant  one,  I  can  conceive  of 


MISSOURI  QUESTION— ACT  THE  SECOND  139 

nothing,  in  the  general,  more  insipid  than  these  Ministerial  dinners. 
You  are  invited  a,t  Jive.  The  usage  is  to  be  there  15  or  20  minutes 
after  the  time.  Dinner  never  served  until  six ;  and  a  little  after 
seven  coffee  closes  the  entertainment,  without  the  least  opportunity  for 

conversation.    Quant  a  moi,  I  was  placed  at  his  S ship's  left  hand, 

and  he  did  me  the  honor  to  address  his  conversation  almost  exclu- 
sively to  me.  Now  you  know  that  as  'attentions'  constitute  the 
great  charm  of  manners,  so  are  they  more  peculiarly  acceptable  to 
them  that  are  least  accustomed  to  them — such  as  antiquated  belles, 
discarded  statesmen,  and  bankrupts  of  all  sorts — whether  in  person 
or  in  character. 

"Nothing  can  be  more  dreary  than  the  life  we  lead  here.  'Tis 
something  like  being  on  board  ship,  but  not  so  various.  We  stupidly 
doze  over  our  sea-coal  fires  in  our  respective  messes,  and  may  truly 
be  said  to  hibernate  at  Washington." 


CHAPTER     XY. 

MISSOURI   QUESTION. — ACT  THE   SECOND. 

Shortly  after  the  opening  of  the  session,  this  exciting  subject  again 
came  up  in  a  most  unexpected  form.  Missouri  under  the  "  com- 
promise act"  of  March  the  6th,  1820,  had  adopted  a  constitution  with 
a  clause  declaring  that  free  negroes  and  mulattoes  should  not  emigrate 
into  the  State.  It  was  contended  that  free  negroes  and  mulattoes 
were  citizens  of  the  State  of  their  residence  ;  and  as  such,  under  the 
Constitution,  had  a  right  to  remove  to  Missouri  or  any  other  State 
in  the  Union,  and  there  enjoy  all  the  privileges  and  immunities  of 
other  citizens  of  the  United  States  emigrating  to  the  same  place  ; 
and,  therefore,  that  the  clause  in  the  constitution  of  Missouri,  above 
alluded  to,  was  repugnant  to  the  constitution  of  the  United  States, 
and  she  ought  not  to  be  admitted  into  the  Union.  On  the  other  hand 
it  was  maintained  that  the  African  race,  whether  bond  or  free,  were 
not  parties  to  our  political  institutions  ;  that  therefore,  free  negroes 
and  mulattoes  were  not  citizens,  within  the  meaning  of  the  constitu- 
tion of  the  United  States :  and  that  even  if  the  constitution  of  Mis- 
souri were  repugnant  to  that  of  the  United  States,  the  latter  was  par- 


140  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

amount,  and  would  overrule   the  conflicting  provision  of  the  power, 
without  the  interference  of  Congress. 

Notwithstanding  the  reasonableness  of  this  view  of  the  subject, 
a  stern  and  inflexible  majority,  the  same  as  at  the  last  session,  re- 
pelled every  proposition,  in  every  form,  which  aimed  at  the  reception 
of  the  offending  State.  Scarcely  a  day  elapsed  that  did  not  bring  up 
the  question  in  some  shape  or  other.  The  presidential  election  had 
taken  place  in  November  preceding ;  it  became  the  duty  of  the  Pre- 
sident of  the  Senate,  in  presence  of  the  other  House,  to  count  the 
votes  of  the  States.  The  Senate  being  present,  and  their  President 
having  counted  the  votes  of  all  the  other  States,  opened  the  package 
containing  the  vote  of  the  State  of  Missouri,  and  handed  it  to  the 
tellers  to  be  counted.  Mr.  Livermore,  of  New  Hampshire,  objected, 
because  Missouri  was  not  a  State  of  this  Union.  The  Senate  then 
withdrew.  In  the  House  the  following  resolution  was  then  submitted  : 
';  Resolved — That  Missouri  is  one  of  the  States  of  this  Union,  and 
her  vote  ought  to  be  received  and  counted."  An  animated  debate 
ensued,  in  which  Mr.  Randolph  largely  participated.  We  shall  only 
bring  together  here,  under  one  view,  what  he  said  on  the  constitu- 
tional question  involved  in  the  controversy.  No  man  had  a  clearer 
perception  of  the  meaning  and  spirit  of  that  sacred  instrument,  more 
highly  valued  it  as  a  government  when  properly  administered,  or  did 
more,  as  the  reader  will  see  in  the  sequel,  to  restore  it  to  its  proper 
interpretation. 

Mr.  Randolph  said — "  He  could  not  recognize  in  this  House,  or 
the  other,  singly  or  conjointly,  the  power  to  decide  on  the  votes  of 
any  State.  Suppose  you  strike  out  Missouri  and  insert  South  Caro- 
lina, which  has  also  a  provision  in  its  Constitution  repugnant  to  the 
Constitution  of  the  United  States ;  or  Virginia,  or  Massachusetts, 
which  had  a  test,  he  believed,  in  its  Constitution ;  was  there  any  less 
power  to  decide  on  their  votes  than  on  those  of  Missouri  ?  He  main- 
tained that  the  electoral  college  was  as  independent  of  Congress  as 
Congress  was  of  them ;  and  we  have  no  right  to  judge  of  their  pro- 
ceedings. He  would  rather  see  an  interregnum,  or  have  no  votes 
counted,  than  see  a  principle  adopted  which  went  to  the  very  founda- 
tion on  which  the  presidential  office  rested.  Suppose  a  case  in  which 
some  gentlemen  of  one  House  or  the  other  should  choose  to  object  to 
the  vote  of  some  State,  and  say  that  if  it  be  thus,  such  a  person  is 
elected ;  if  it  be  otherwise,  another  person  is  elected ;  did  any  body 
ever  see  the  absurdity  of  such  a  proposition  ?     He  deemed  the  course 


MISSOURI  QUESTION— ACT  THE  SECOND.  141 

pursued  erroneous,  and  in  a  vital  part,  on  the  ascertainment  of  the 
person  who  had  been  elected  by  the  people  Chief  Magistrate  of  the 
United  States,  the  most  important  office  under  the  Constitution. 
*  *  *  *  She  has  now  presented  herself  (Missouri)  for  the  first  time 
in  a  visible  and  tangible  shape ;  she  comes  into  this  House,  not  in 
forma  pauperis,  but  claiming  to  be  one  of  the  co-sovereignty  of  this 
confederated  government,  and  presents  to  you  her  vote,  by  receiving  or 
rejecting  which  the  election  of  your  Chief  Magistrate  will  be  lawful 
or  unlawful.  He  did  not  mean  by  the  vote  of  Missouri,  but  by  the 
votes  of  all  the  States. 

';  Now  comes  the  question,  whether  we  will  not  merely  repel  her, 
but  repel  her  with  scorn  and  contumely.  Cui  bono  ?  she  might  add, 
quo  warranto  ?  He  should  like  to  hear  from  the  gentleman  from 
New  Hampshire  (Mr.  Livermore)  where  this  House  gets  its  authority. 
He  should  like  to  hear  some  of  the  learned  (or  unlearned)  sages  of 
the  land,  with  which  this  House,  as  well  as  all  our  legislative  bodies, 
abounds,  show  their  authority  for  refusing  to  receive  the  votes  of 
the  State  of  Missouri.  He  went  back  to  first  principles.  The  elec- 
toral colleges  are  as  independent  of  this  House  as  we  are  of  them. 
They  had  as  good  a  right  to  pronounce  on  their  qualifications  as  this 
House  has  of  its  members.  Your  office  in  regard  to  the  electoral  votes, 
is  merely  ministerial — to  count  the  votes — and  you  undertake  to  re- 
ject votes  !  To  what  will  this  lead  ?  *  *  *  *  The  wisest  men  may 
make  Constitutions  on  paper,  as  they  please.  What  was  the  theory 
of  this  Constitution  ?  It  is  that  this  House,  except  upon  a  certain 
contingency,  has  nothing  to  do  with  the  appointment  of  President  and 
Vice-President  of  the  United  States,  and  by  States  only  can  it  act  on 
this  subject,  unless  it  transcend  the  limits  of  the  Constitution.  What 
was  to  be  the  practice  of  the  Constitution  as  now  proposed?  That 
an  informal  meeting  of  this  and  the  other  House  is  to  usurp  the  ini- 
tiative, the  nominative  power,  with  regard  to  the  two  first  officers  of 
the  government ;  that  they  are  to  wrest  from  the  people  their  inde- 
feasible right  of  telling  us  whom  they  wish  to  exercise  the  functions 
of  government,  in  despite  and  contempt  of  their  decision.  Is  there 
to  be  no  limit  to  the  power  of  Congress  1  no  mound  or  barrier  to  stay 
their  usurpation  1  Why  were  the  electoral  bodies  established?  The 
Constitution  has  wisely  provided  that  they  shall  assemble,  each  by 
itself,  and  not  by  one  great  assembly.  By  this  means,  assuredly,  that 
system  of  intrigue  which  was  matured  into  a  science,  or  rather  into 
an  art  here,  was  guarded  against.  But  he  ventured  to  say,  the  electo- 
ral college  of  this  much  despised  Missouri,  acting  conformably 
to  law  and  to  the  genius  and  nature  of  our  institutions,  if  it  were 
composed  of  but  one  man,  was  as  independent  of  this  House  as 
the  House  was  of  it.  *****  Let  me  tell  my  friend  before 
me  (Mr.   Archer),  we  have  not  the  power  which  he  thinks  we  pos- 


142  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

sess ;  and  if  there  be  a  casus  omissus  in  the  Constitution,  I  want 
to  know  where  we  are  to  supply  the  defect.  You  may  keep  Missouri 
out  of  the  Union  by  violence,  but  here  the  issue  is  joined,  and 
she  conies  forward  in  the  persons  of  her  electors,  instead  of  repre- 
sentative, and  she  was  thus  presented  in  a  shape  as  unquestion- 
able as  that  of  New-York  or  Pennsylvania,  or  the  proudest  and 
oldest  State  in  the  Union.  Will  you  deny  them  admission  ?  Will 
you  thrust  her  electors,  and  hers  only,  from  this  hall  1  I  made  no 
objection  to  the  vote  of  New  Hampshire  ;  I  had  as  good  a  right  to 
object  to  the  vote  of  New  Hampshire,  as  the  gentleman  from  New 
Hampshire  had  to  object  to  the  vote  of  Missouri.  The  electors  of 
Missouri  were  as  much  the  hominus  probi  et  legates  as  those  of  New 
Hampshire.  This  was  no  skirmish,  as  the  gentleman  from  Virginia 
had  called  it.  This  was  the  battle  where  Greek  meets  Greek.  Let 
us  buckle  on  our  armor,  let  us  put  aside  all  this  flummery,  these 
metaphysical  distinctions,  these  unprofitable  drawings  of  distinc- 
tions without  differences  ;  let  us  say  now,  as  we  have  on  another  oc- 
casion (the  election  of  Jefferson  and  Burr  in  1801),  'we  will  assert, 
maintain,  and  vindicate  our  rights,  or  put  to  every  hazard,  what  you 
pretend  to  hold  in  such  high  estimation.' " 

These  arguments,  which  clearly  prove  the  false  and  absurd  and 
dangerous  position  assumed  by  the  House  on  the  Missouri  question, 
were  of  none  avail.  And  yet  a  simple  truism — a  mere  nullity  in  fact, 
in  the  shape  of  a  compromise  resolution,  had  the  effect  of  magic  in  heal- 
ing all  the  differences  that  had  arisen  between  the  respective  parties. 
Another  sad  example  of  the  blindness  and  obstinacy  of  men,  when 
passion  assumes  sway  of  their  cooler  judgment. 

Mr.  Randolph  participated  in  the  debate  on  other  subjects  during 
this  session  of  Congress. 

"  Yesterday,"  says,  he  in  a  letter  dated  January  5th,  1821,  "we 
had  a  triumph  over  the  '  veteran  Swiss  of  State  '  and  the  S.  of  W.  on 
the  appropriation  to  cover  Indian  arrearages.  He  (C-- n)  is  po- 
litically dead.     L s,  towards  the  close  of  the  debate,  '  put  in '  and 

imputed  want  of  economy  to  the  Committee  of  Ways  and  Means 
when  I  was  a  member.  This  gave  me  an  opportunity  to  contrast  the 
military  expenditure  of  1803-4-5  of  800.000— 800,000,  and  700.000, 
respectively  with  the  modern  practice.  In  1804  we  took  possession 
of  New  Orleans  (an  event   utterly    unlooked  for)  without  incurring 

one  farthing  of  additional  expense.     Mr.  L s  looked  very  foolish, 

and    uglier   than    usual.     Mr.   M.  of   S.  C.   (the    successor  of    Mr. 

C n's  man  Friday)  made   several  attempts,  I  was  told,  to  get 

the  floor,  in  his  patron's  defence,  but  his  timidity  prevented  success. 
*  *  *  *  You  will  see  a  most  villainous  report  of  yesterday's  proceed- 


MISSOURI  QUESTION— ACT  THE  SECOND.  14.3 

ings,  in  the  court  paper.     The  r 1  pretends  he   can't   hear   me. 

There  was  not  a  man  in  the  House  that  did  not  hear  me.  It  is  a 
usual  massacre.  Pray  ask  Ritchie  not  to  publish  it.  I  will  correct 
it  for  his  paper,  and  send  it  on,  that  the  people  of  Virginia  at  least 
may  be  undeceived.  I  am  made  to  talk  nonsense,  such  as  '  kissing 
of  hands '  for  '  imposition  of  hands.'  There  is  a  studied  and  de- 
signed suppression  of  what  passed." 

Besides  Mr.  Randolph,  Nathaniel  Macon,  of  North  Carolina,  and 
Spencer  Roane,  Chief  Justice  of  Virginia,  were  the  most  conspicu- 
ous State-rights  men  in  that  time  of  amalgamation  and  confusion  of 
all  parties.  They  were  ever  consistent  and  uniform  in  their  adher- 
ence to  the  principles  of  the  strict  construction  school,  and  always 
urgent  for  those  measures  of  economy  and  that  course  of  "  wise  and 
masterly  inactivity,"  which  must  ever  characterize  a  party  based  on 
such  principles.  Of  the  former  of  those  gentlemen  Mr.  Randolph 
was  the  mess-mate  while  in  Congress,  and  on  terms  of  unreserved 
daily  intercourse ;  with  Judge  Rt)ane  he  did  not  pretend  to  stand  on 
a  footing  of  intimacy ;  but  he  respected  his  virtues,  his  talents,  his 
long  services,  and  had  begun  to  look  to  him  as  a  fit  person  to  be  se- 
lected by  "  all  the  honest  men"  as  a  candidate  for  the  presidency. 

"  With  the  exception  of  my  old  friend,  Mr.  Macon,"  says  he  to 
Dr.  Brockenbrough,  "  you  are  the  only  person  with  whom  I  hold  any 
intercourse,  except  of  that  heartless  sort  which  prevails  in  what  is 
called  the  world.  Your  letters,  therefore,  are  as  much  missed  by  me 
as  would  be  an  only  member  of  one's  family  who  should  disappear  at 
breakfast  and  leave  one  to  a  solitary  and  cheerless  meal.     So  much 

of  your  penultimate  as  relates  to  Mr.  M I  shall  take  the  liberty 

to  communicate  to  oneoi  the  N.  C.  delegation.  I  am  truly  concerned 
at  your  anticipations  respecting  Mr.  Roane's  health.  I  earnestly 
hope  that  your  presage  may  prove  fallacious,  although,  when  I  reflect 
on  your  skill  and  intimate  knowledge  of  the  man,  I  feel  very  appre- 
hensive of  its  truth. 

"  I  began  Fabricius,  but  was  obliged  to  drop  it.  He  sets  out 
with  a  string  of  truisms  conveyed  in  the  style  of  a  schoolboy's  theme. 
Mercy  upon  us  !  What  has  become  of  the  intellect  and  taste  of  our 
country  %  Your  secret  is  as  safe  with  me  as  in  your  own  breast ;  but 
rely  upon  it,  if  either  of  the  personages  you  mention  should  present 
any  thing  fit  to  be  offered  to  the  H.  of  D.  it  will  be  ascribed  to  some 
other  hand,  and,  if  it  smack  of  the  old  school,  to  the  pen  of  Mr. 
Roane.  I  differ  from  you  about  '  his  being  a  Virginian  ;'  not  that  I 
doubt  the  fact.  But  take  my  word  for  it,  he  is  becoming  every  day 
more  and  more  known  out  of  the  State,  and  occupies  a  large  space 


1-i-i  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

in  the  public  eye.     I  think  he  can  be  elected  easily  against  any  one 
yet  talked  of." 

"  I  read  Mr.  Roane's  letter,"  says  he  on  another  occasion,  "  with 
the  attention  that  it  deserves.  Every  thing  from  his  pen  on  the  sub- 
ject of  our  laws  and  institutions  excites  a  profound  interest.  I  was 
highly  gratified  at  the  manner  in  which  it  was  spoken  of  in  my  hear- 
ing by  one  of  the  best  and  ablest  men  in  our  House.  It  is  indeed  high 
time  that  the  hucksters  and  money-changers  should  be  cast  out  of  the 
Temple  of  justice.  The  tone  of  this  communication  belongs  to  ano- 
ther age  :  but  for  the  date,  who  could  suppose  it  to  have  been  written 
in  this  our  day  of  almost  universal  political  corruption?  I  did  not 
road  the  report  on  the  lottery  case.  The  print  of  the  Enquirer  is  too 
much  for  my  eyes  ;  and,  besides,  I  want  no  argument  to  satisfy  me 
that  the  powers  which  Congress  may  exercise,  where  they  possess  ex- 
clusive jurisdiction,  may  not  be  extended  to  places  where  they  pos- 
sess solely  a  limited  and  concurrent  jurisdiction.  The  very  statement 
of  the  question  settles  it,  and  every  additional  word  is  but  an  incum- 
brance of  help." 

In  the  same  letter  he  says  : 

"  If  I  possessed  a  talent  that  I  once  thought  I  had,  I  would  try 
to  give  you  a  picture  of  Washington.  The  state  of  things  is  the 
strangest  imaginable ;  but  I  am  like  a  speechless  person  who  has  the 
clearest  conception  of  what  he  would  say,  but  whose  organs  refuse  to 
perform  their  office.  There  is  one  striking  fact  that  one  can't  help 
seeing  at  the  first  glance — that  there  is  no  faith  among  men  ;  the 
state  of  political  confidence  may  be  compared  to  that  of  the  commer- 
cial world  within  the  last  two  or  three  years.  *****  Our  State 
politics,  like  those  of  the  General  Government,  are  a  conundrum  to 
me,  and  I  leave  the  unriddling  of  them  to  the  ingenious  writers  who 
construct  and  solve  enigmas  and  charades  for  the  magazines.  *  *  *  * 

"  I  have  been  trying  to  read  Southey's  Life  of  Wesley  for  some 
days.  Upon  the  whole,  I  find  it  a  heavy  work,  although  there  are 
some  very  striking  passages,  and  it  abounds  in  curious  information. 
From  279  to  285  inclusive  of  volume  the  second  is  very  fine.  Yes- 
terday I  was  to  have  dined  with  Frank  Key,  but  was  not  well  enough 
to  go.  He  called  here  the  day  before,  and  we  had  much  talk  toge- 
ther. He  perseveres  in  pressing  on  towards  the  goal,  and  his  whole 
life  is  spent  in  endeavoring  to  do  good  for  his  unhappy  fellow-men. 
The  result  is,  that  he  enjoys  a  tranquillity  of  mind,  a  sunshine  of  the 
soul,  that  all  the  Alexanders  of  the  earth  can  neither  confer  nor  take 
away.  This  is  a  state  to  which  I  can  never  attain.  I  have  made  up 
my  mind  to  suffer  like  a  man  condemned  to  the  wheel  or  the  stake. 
Strange  as  you  may  think  it,  I  could  submit  without  a  murmur  to 
pass  the  rest  of  my  life  '  on  some  high  lonely  tower,  where  I  might 
outwatch  the  bear  with  thrice  great  Hermes,'  and  exchange  the  enjoy- 


HIS  WILL.  145 

merits  of  society  for  an  exemption  from  the  plagues  of  life.  These 
press  me  down  to  the  very  earth  ;  and  to  rid  mj-self  of  them,  I  would 
gladly  purchase  an  annuity  and  crawl  into  some  hole,  where  I  might 
commune  with  myself  and  be  still." 

"Thursday,  March  1,  1821. 

';  I  am  in  luck  this  morning.  Johnny  has  brought  me  a  letter  from 
you  instead  of  returning  from  the  Post-offrce  empty  handed  as  usual. 
It  gives  me  great  satisfaction  to  find  that  the  good  people  of  my  dis- 
trict are  not  dissatisfied  with  my  course  this  winter. 

'■  Last  night  there  was,  as  I  am  informed  by  the  gentlemen  of  our 
club,  a  most  disgraceful  scene  in  the  H.  of  R.  on  the  Bankrupt  bill, 
which,  by  virtue  of  the  previous  question,  will  be  forced  through  the 
House  without  being  committed,  or  even  once  read  !  except  by  its 
title — a  bill  of  65  sections  ! 

"  The  bankrupt  land  speculators  and  broken  merchants  are,  like 
;  the  sons  of  Zeruiah,  too  strong  for  us.'  So  you  see  our  coronation 
will  be  graced  by  a  general  jail  delivery. 

'•  Mrs.  Brockenbrough's  rheumatism,  which  is  an  opprobrium  of 
medicine,  gives  me  real  concern.  I  sympathize  with  her  in  the  liter- 
al sense  of  the  term. 

';  My  pains  are  aggravated  by  having  neither  society  nor  books  to 
relieve  my  ennui. 

" '  You  mention  whatever  comes  into  your  head' — To  be  sure  you 
ought.     It  is  the  charm  of  a  letter. 

-The  gentlemen  you  mention  are  right  in  their  'attentions' to 
Miss .  I  consider  the  society  of  such  a  woman  as  the  best  possi- 
ble school  for  a  young  man,  and  solace  for  an  old  one. 

I  have  not  read  Col.  Taylor's  book,  but  I  heartily  agree  with  Mr. 
Jefferson  that  'the  Judiciary  gravitates  towards  consolidation.' 
I  consider  this  district  to  be  the  irovcrrw  and  the  Supreme  Court  to  be 
the  lever  of  the  political  Archimedes.  I  do  not  know  whether  you 
can  make  out  my  Greek  character. 

"  I  give  you  joy  that  this  is  the  last  epistle  that  you  will  be  plagued 
with  from  me  from  this  place." 


-»-*-*- 


CHAPTER    XVI. 

"be  not  solitary;  be  not  idle."     his  WILL — SLAVES. 

Mr.  Randolph's  solitary  residence  at  Roanoke  had  become  more 
and  more  intolerable  to  him.  '•  The  boys"  were  off  at  school.  Dr. 
Dudley,  at  his   solicitation,  had  moved  to  Richmond,  and  he  was  like 

VOL.    II.  7 


146  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

the  "  Ancient   Mariner"  on  the  wide  sea — "  alone — alone — all — all 
alone !" 

"You  do  not  overrate  the  solitariness,"  says  he.  "  of  the  life  I  lead 
here.  It  is  dreary  beyond  conception,  except  by  the  actual  sufferer. 
I  can  only  acquiesce  in  it,  as  the  lot  in  which  I  have  been  cast  by 
the  good  providence  of  God,  and  endeavor  to  bear  it,  and  the  daily 
increasing  infirmities,  which  throaten  total  helplessness,  as  well  as  I 
may.  '  Many  long  weeks  have  passed  since  you  heard  from  me' — and 
why  should  I  write  ?  To  say  that  I  have  made  another  notch  in  my 
tally  ?  or  to  enter  upon  the  monstrous  list  of  grievances,  mental  and 
bodily,  which  egotism  itself  could  scarcely  bear  to  relate,  and  none  oth- 
er to  listen  to.  You  say  truly  :  '  there  is  no  substitute'  for  what  you 
name. '  that  can  fill  the  heart.'  The  better  conviction  has  lona;  ae;o  rush- 
ed  upon  my  own,  and  arrested  its  functions.  Not  that  it  is  without  its 
paroxysms,  which,  I  thank  heaven,  itself  alone  is  conscious  of.  Perhaps 
I  am  wrong  to  indulge  in  this  vein  ;  but  I  must  write  thus  or  not  at  all. 
No  punishment,  except  remorse,  can  exceed  the  misery  I  feel.  My 
heart  swells  to  bursting,  at  past  recollections ;  and  as  the  present  is 
without  enjoyment,  so  is  the  future  without  hope ;  so  far  at  least,  as 
respects  this  world. 

"  Here  I  am  yearning  after  the  society  of  some  one  who  is  not 
merely  indifferent  to  me,  and  condemned,  day  after  day,  to  a  solitude 
like  Robinson  Crusoe's.  But  each  day  brings  my  captivity  and  ex- 
ile nearer  to  their  end." 

To  Dr.  Brockenbrough,  June  12th,  he  says: — "This  letter  is 
written  as  children  whistle  in  the  dark,  to  keep  themselves  from  being 
afraid.  I  dare  not  look  upon  that  '  blank  and  waste  of  the  heart' 
within.  Dreary,  desolate,  dismal — there  is  no  word  in  our  language, 
or  any  other,  that  can  express  the  misery  of  my  life.  I  drag  on  like 
a  tired  captive  at  the  end  of  a  slave-chain  in  an  African  Coifle.  I  go 
because  I  must.     But  this  is  worse  than  the  sick  man's  tale." 

From  this  solitude  he  sent  forth  lessons  that  should  be  graven  on 
the  heart  of  every  young  man.  His  own  sad  experience  adds  weight 
to  his  precepts.  Out  of  the  deep  anguish  of  his  heart  poured  forth 
the  words  of  wisdom.  His  admonitions  give  a  sure  guide  to  the  be- 
wildered mind,  and  cheering  hope  to  the  depressed  spirit.  No  young 
man  can  give  heed  to  them  and  follow  them,  without  finding  to  his 
joy  that  he  has  hit  upon  the  true  and  only  path  of  success  in  human 
life — he  will  find  that  activity,  cheerful  activity,  in  some  useful  call- 
ing in  daily  intercourse  with  his  fellow  man,  is  the  business,  the 
solace,  and  the  charm  of  existence. 

"  The  true   cure  for  maladies  like  yours,  "  says  he  to  Dr.  Dudley, 


HIS  WILL.  147 

who  had  written  in  a  desponding  tone,  "  is  employment.  '  Be  not  soli- 
tary ;  be  not  idle  !'  was  all  that  Burton  could  advise.  Rely  upon  it, 
life  was  not  given  us  to  be  spent  in  dreams  and  reverie,  but  for  ac- 
tive, useful  exertion ;  exertion  that  turns  to  some  account  to  our- 
selves or  to  others — not  laborious  idleness — (I  say  nothing  about  re- 
ligion, which  is  between  the  heart  and  its  Creator.)  This  preaching 
is,  I  know,  foolish  enough  ;  but  let  it  pass.  We  have  all  two  educa- 
tions ;  one  we  have  given  to  us — the  other  we  give  ourselves ;  and, 
after  a  certain  time  of  life,  when  the  character  has  taken  its  ply,  it  is 
idle  to  attempt  to  change  it. 

"  If  I  did  not  think  it  would  aggravate  your  symptoms,  I  would 
press  you  to  come  here.  In  the  sedulous  study  and  practice  of  your 
profession  I  hope  you  will  find  a  palliative,  if  not  a  complete  cure, 
for  your  moral  disease.  Yours  is  the  age  of  exertion — the  prime  and 
vigor  of  life.  But  I  have  'fallen  into  the  sear  and  yellow  leaf:  and  that 
which  should  accompany  old  age,  as  honor,  love,  obedience,  troops  of 
friends,  {•  Rega?i — What  need  oneV)  I  must  not  look  to  have;  but, 
in  their  stead .' 

':  Rely  upon  it,  you  are  entirely  mistaken  in  your  estimate  of  the 
world.  Bad  as  it  is,  mankind  are  not  quite  so  silly  as  you  suppose. 
Look  around  you,  and  see  who  are  held  in  the  highest  esteem.  I  will 
name  one — Mr  Chief  Justice.  It  is  not  the  '  rogue'  who  gains  the 
good  opinion  of  his  own  sex,  or  of  the  other.  It  is  the  man,  who  by 
the  exercise  of  the  faculties  which  nature  and  education  have  given 
him,  asserts  his  place  among  his  fellows ;  and,  whilst  useful  to  all 
around  him,  establishes  his  claim  to  their  respect,  as  an  equal  and 
independent  member  of  society.  He  may  have  every  other  good 
quality  under  heaven ;  but,  wanting  this,  a  man  becomes  an  object 
of  pity  to  the  good,  and  of  contempt  to  the  vile.  Look  at  Mr.  Leigh, 
his  brother  William,  Mr.  Wickham,  Dr.  Brockenbrough,  &c,  &c, 
and  compare  them  with  the  drones  which  society  is  impatient  to 
shake  from  its  lap. 

"  One  of  the  best  and  wisest  men  I  ever  knew  has  often  said  to 
me,  that  a  decayed  family  could  never  recover  its  loss  of  rank  in  the 
world,  until  the  members  of  it  left  off  talking  and  dwelling  upon  its 
former  opulence.  This  remark,  founded  in  a  long  and  close  observa- 
tion of  mankind,  I  have  seen  verified,  in  numerous  instances,  in  my 
own  connections ;  who,  to  use  the  words  of  my  oracle,  '  will  never 
thrive,  until  they  can  become  "poor  folks:'"  he  added,  '  they  may 
make  some  struggles,  and  with  apparent  success,  to  recover  lost 
ground :  they  may,  and  sometimes  do,  get  half  way  up  again ;  but 
they  are  sure  to  fall  back ;  unless,  reconciling  themselves  to  circum- 
stances, they  become  in  form,  as  well  as  in  fact,  poor  folks.' 

"  The  blind  pursuit  of  wealth,  for  the  sake  of  hoarding,  is  a  species 
of  insanity.     There  are  spirits,  and  not  the  least  worthy,  who.  con- 


148  LIFE  0F  J0HN  RANDOLPH. 

tent  with  an  humble  mediocrity,  leave  the  field  of  wealth  and  ambi- 
tion open  to  more  active,  perhaps  more  guilty,  competitors.  Nothing 
can  be  more  respectable  than  the  independence  that  grows  out  of 
self-denial.  The  man  who,  by  abridging  his  wants,  can  find  time  to 
devote  to  the  cultivation  of  his  mind,  or  the  aid  of  his  fellow-crea- 
tures, is  a  being  far  above  the  plodding  sons  of  industry  and  gain. 
His  is  a  spirit  of  the  noblest  order.  But  what  shall  we  say  to  the 
drone,  whom  society  is  eager  '  to  shake  from  her  encumbered  lap  ?' — 
who  lounges  from  place  to  place,  and  spends  more  time  in  '  Adoniz- 
ing'  his  person,  even  in  a  morning,  than  would  serve  to  earn  his 
breakfast? — who  is  curious  in  his  living,  a  connoisseur  in  wines,  fas- 
tidious in  his  cookery ;  but  who  never  knew  the  luxury  of  earning  a 
single  meal?  Such  a  creature,  'sponging'  from  house  to  house,  and 
always  on  the  borrow,  may  yet  be  found  in  Virginia.  One  more 
generation  will,  I  trust,  put  an  end  to  them ;  and  their  posterity,  if 
they  have  any,  must  work  or  steal  directly. 

"  Men  are  like  nations:  one  founds  a  family,  the  other  an  empire; 
both  destined,  sooner  or  later,  to  decay.  This  is  the  way  in  which 
ability  manifests  itself.  They  who  belong  to  a  higher  order,  like 
Newton,  and  Milton,  and  Shakspear*,  leave  an  imperishable  name. 
I  have  no  cpiarrel  with  such  as  are  content  with  their  original  obscu- 
rity, vegetate  on  from  father  to  son  ;  '  whose  ignoble  blood  has  crept 
through  clodpoles  ever  since  the  flood ;"  but  I  cannot  respect  them. 
He  who  contentedly  eats  the  bread  of  idleness  and  dependence  is 
beneath  contempt. 

"  Noscitur  e  socio.  '  Tell  me  your  company  and  I  will  tell  you 
what  you  are.'  But  there  is  another  description  of  persons,  of  far 
inferior  turpitude,  against  all  connection  with  whom,  of  whatsoever 
degree,  I  would  seriously  warn  you.  This  consists  of  men  of  broken 
fortunes,  and  all  who  are  loose  on  the  subject  of  pecuniary  engage- 
ments. Time  was,  when  I  was  fool  enough  to  believe  that  a  man 
might  be  negligent  of  such  obligations,  and  yet  a  very  good  fellow, 
&c. ;  but  long  experience  has  convinced  me  that  he  who  is  lax  in  this 
respect  is  utterly  unworthy  of  trust  in  any  other.  He  might  do  an 
occasional  act  of  kindness  (or  what  is  falsely  called  generosity)  when 
it  lay  in  his  way,  and  so  may  a  prostitute,  or  a  highwayman  ;  but  he 
would  plunge  his  nearest  friends  and  dearest  connections,  the  wife 
of  his  bosom,  and  the  children  of  his  loins,  into  misery  and  want, 
rather  than  forego  the  momentary  gratification  of  appetite,  vanity,  or 
laziness.  I  have  come  to  this  conclusion  slowly  and  painfully,  but 
a  rtainly.  Of  the  Shylocks,  and  the  smooth-visaged  men  of  the 
world,  I  think  as  I  believe  you  do.  Certainly,  if  I  were  to  seek  for 
the  hardest  of  hearts,  the  most  obdurate,  unrelenting,  and  cruel,  I 
should  find  them  among  the  most  selfish  of  mankind.  And  who  are 
the  most  selfish  ?     The  usurer,  the  courtier,  and  above  all,  the  spend- 


HIS  WILL. 


149 


thrift.  Try  them  once  as  creditors,  and  you  will  find,  that  even  the 
Shylocks,  we  wot  of,  are  not  harder. 

"  You  know  my  opinion  of  female  society.  Without  it,  we  should 
degenerate  into  brutes.  This  observation  applies  with  tenfold  force 
to  young  men,  and  those  who  are  in  the  prime  of  manhood  :  for.  after 
a  certain  time  of  life,  the  literary  man  may  make  a  shift  (a  poor  one. 
I  grant)  to  do  without  the  society  of  ladies.  To  a  young  man,  nothing 
is  so  important  as  a  spirit  of  devotion  (next  to  his  Creator)  to  some 
virtuous  and  amiable  woman,  whose  image  may  occupy  his  heart,  and 
guard  it  from  the  pollution  which  besets  it  on  all  sides.  Neverthe- 
less, I  trust  that  your  fondness  for  the  company  of  ladies  may  not  rob 
you  of  the  time  which  ought  to  be  devoted  to  reading  and  meditating 
on  your  profession  ;  and,  above  all,  that  it  may  not  acquire  for  you 
the  reputation  of  dangler — in  itself  bordering  on  the  contemptible, 
and  seriously  detrimental  to  your  professional  character.  A  cautious 
old  Squaretoes,  who  might  have  no  objection  to  employing  such  a  one 
at  the  bar,  would,  perhaps,  be  shy  of  introducing  him  as  a  practitioner 
in  his  family,  in  case  he  should  have  a  pretty  daughter,  or  niece,  or 
sister  ;  although  all  experience  shows,  that  of  all  male  animals,  the 
dangler  is  the  most  harmless  to  the  ladies,  who  quickly  learn,  with 
the  intuitive  sagacity  of  the  sex,  to  make  a  convenience  of  him,  while 
he  serves  for  a  butt,  also. 

"  Rely  upon  it.  that  to  love  a  woman  as  '  a  mistress,'  although  a 
delicious  delirium — an  intoxication  far  surpassing  that  of  Cham- 
pagne— is  altogether  unessential,  nay,  pernicious,  in  the  choice  of  a 
wife  ;  which  a  man  ought  to  set  about  in  his  sober  senses,  choosing 
her,  as  Mrs.  Primrose  did  her  wedding-gown,  for  qualities  that  'wear 
well.'  I  am  well  persuaded  that  few  love-matches  are  happy  ones.  One 
thing,  at  least,  is  true,  that  if  matrimony  has  its  care's,  celibacy  has 
no  pleasures.  A  Newton,  or  a  mere  scholar,  may  find  employment  in 
study  ;  a  man  of  literary  taste  can  receive,  in  books,  a  powerful 
auxiliary  ;  but  a  man  must  have  a  bosom  friend,  and  children  around 
him,  to  cherish  and  support  the  dreariness  of  old  age." 

Just  as  he  was  about  to  leave  home  for  Washington,  the  first  of 
December,  1821,  while  his  horses  were  at  the  door,  and  he  booted 
and  spurred,  and  Johnny  and  his  travelling  companion,  Richard 
Randolph,  impatiently  waiting  for  him  in  the  cold,  Mr.  Randolph  sat 
down  and  wrote  his  will — the  will  which,  after  a  long  contest,  was 
finally  established  as  his  last  will  and  testament. 

In  May,  1819,  he  wrote  a  will,  and  deposited  it  with  Dr.  Brocken- 
brough,  to  the  following  effect : 

"  I  give  to  my  slaves  their  freedom,  to  which  my  conscience  tells 
me  they  are  justly  entitled.     It  has  a  long  time  been  a  matter  of  the 


150  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

deepest  regret  to  me,  that  the  circumstances  under  which  I  inherited 
them,  and  the  obstacles  thrown  in  the  way  by  the  laws  of  the  land, 
have  prevented  my  emancipating  them  in  my  lifetime,  which  it  is  my 
full  intention  to  do,  in  case  I  can  accomplish  it. 

"All  the  rest  and  residue  of  my  estate  (with  the  exceptions  here- 
after made),  whether  real  or  personal,  I  bequeath  to  William  Leigh, 
Esquire,  of  Halifax,  attorney  at  law,  to  the  Rev.  Win.  Meade,  of 
Frederick,  and  to  Francis  Scott  Key,  Esqr.,  of  Georgetown,  District 
of  Columbia,  in  trust,  for  the  following  uses  and  purposes,  viz: 
1st.  To  provide  one  or  more  tracts  of  land  in  any  of  the  States  or 
Territories,  not  exceeding  in  the  whole  four  thousand  acres,  nor  less 
than  two  thousand  acres,  to  be  partitioned  and  apportioned  by  them, 
in  such  manner  as  to  them  may  seem  best,  among  the  said  slaves- 
2d.  To  pay  the  expense  of  their  removal,  and  of  furnishing  them  with 
necessary  cabins,  clothes,  and  utensils."  Then  follow  other  pro- 
visions. The  will  of  1821  is  substantially  the  same  as  the  above. 
The  first  item  is  :  "I  give  and  bequeath  to  all  my  slaves  their  free- 
dom, heartily  regretting  that  I  have  ever  been  the  owner  of  one. 
2.  I  give  to  my  executor  a  sum  not  exceeding  eight  thousand  dol- 
lars, or  so  much  thereof  as  may  be  necessary,  to  transport  and  settle 
said  slaves  to  and  in  some  other  State  or  Territory  of  the  United 
States,  giving  to  all  above  the  age  of  forty  not  less  than  ten  acres  of 
land  each." 

He  then  makes  a  special  annuity  to  his  "  old  and  faithful  servants, 
Essex  and  his  wife  Hetty" — the  same  allowance  to  his  "woman- 
servant,  Nancy" — to  Juba  (alias  Jupiter) — to  Queen — and  to  Johnny, 
his  body-servant. 

In  the  codicil  of  1826,  he  says:  "I  do  hereby  confirm  the  be- 
quests to  or  for  the  benefit  of  each  and  every  of  my  slaves,  whether 
by  name  or  otherwise." 

In  1828,  "Being  in  great  extremity,  but  in  my  perfect  senses," 
says  he,  "  I  write  this  codicil  to  my  will  in  the  possession  of  my 
friend,  William  Leigh,  of  Halifax,  Esquire,  to  declare  that  that  will 
is  my  sole  last  will  and  testament ;  and  that  if  any  other  be  found  of 
subsequent  date,  whether  will  or  codicil,  I  do  hereby  revoke  the 
same." 

In  a  codicil  of  1831,  Mr.  Randolph  says  :  "On  the  eve  of  embark- 
ing for  the  United  States  (he  was  then  in  London),  considering  my 


HIS  WILL.  151 

feeble  health,  to  say  nothing  of  the  dangers  of  the  seas,  I  add  this 
codicil  to  my  last  will  and  testament  and  codicils  thereto,  affirming 
them  all,  except  so  far  as  they  may  be  inconsistent  with  the  follow- 
ing disposition  of  my  estate."  The  third  item  of  disposition  is  this  : 
"  I  have  upwards  of  two  thousand  pounds  sterling  in  the  hands  of  Baring 
Brothers  &  Co.,  of  London,  and  upwards  of  one  thousand  pounds, 
like  money,  in  the  hands  of  Gowan  and  Marx.  This  money  I  leave 
to  my  executor,  Wm.  Leigh,  as  a  fund  for  carrying  into  execution  my 
will  respecting  my  slaves  ;  and,  in  addition  to  the  provision  which  I 
have  made  for  my  faithful  servant  John,  sometimes  called  John 
White,  I  charge  my  whole  estate  with  an  annuity  to  him,  during  his 
life,  of  fifty  dollars,  and  as  the  only  favor  I  ever  asked  of  any  govern- 
ment, I  do  entreat  the  Assembly  of  Virginia  to  permit  the  said  John 
and  his  family  to  remain  in  Virginia." 

And  finally,  in  his  dying  hour,  he  gathered  witnesses  around  him; 
and  when  the  spirit  was  trembling  to  escape  from  the  frail  tenement 
that  bound  it,  summoned  all  his  energies  in  one  last  moment,  and  con- 
firmed, in  the  most  solemn  form,  before  God  and  those  witnesses,  all 
the  dispositions  he  had  made  in  his  will,  in  regard  to  his  slaves. 
':  More  especially,"  said  he,  "  in  regard  to  this  man  !"  bringing  down 
his  hand  with  force  and  energy  on  the  shoulder  of  John,  who  stood 
weeping  beside  the  couch  of  his  expiring  master  and  greatest  benefactor. 

Let  the  reader  pause  and  reflect  on  these  things ;  here  are  deeds, 
not  promises — facts  that  speak  for  themselves  ;  they  need  no  addition, 
no  embellishment.  Here  is  a  man  who  made  no  pretensions  to  phi- 
lanthropy— despised  the  pretence  of  it.  The  hypocritical  cant,  for 
ever  prating  about  it,  pouring  forth  its  cheap  abundance  of  words,  but 
which,  unaccompanied  with  substantial  works  of  true  charity,  are  as 
sounding  brass  and  a  tinkling  cymbal.  Here  is  a  man  who  cavilled 
for  the  nineteenth  part  of  a  hair  in  a  matter  of  sheer  right — who 
would  admit  no  compromise  in  the  Missouri  question,  and  was  ready 
to  put  every  thing  to  hazard  in  vindication  of  the  rights  of  the  South. 
"  I  now,"  says  he,  on  that  occasion,  "  appeal  to  this  nation,  whether 
this  pretended  sympathy  for  the  rights  of  a  few  free  negroes  is  to  su- 
persede the  rights  of  the  free  white  population,  of  ten  times  their  whole 
number."  These  words  were  uttered  in  February,  1821.  In  Decem- 
ber following  the  same  man  made  free,  and  provided  for  the  comfort- 
able maintenance  of  three  hundred  negro  slaves.     Is  there  a  man  of 


152  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

that  majority  that  voted  against  him,  with  all  their  professed  sympa- 
thy, who  would  have  done  likewise  1  And  how  completely  has  been 
fulfilled  the  prophecy  of  Mr.  Randolph,  uttered  on  the  occasion  of 
the  Missouri  agitation — "  I  am  persuaded  that  the  cause  of  humanity 
to  these  unfortunates,  has  been  put  back  a  century — certainly  a  gene- 
ration— by  the  unprincipled  conduct  of  ambitious  men,  availing  them- 
selves of  a  good  as  well  as  of  a  fanatical  spirit,  in  the  nation." 

There  can  be  no  doubt,  that  if  the  agitation  of  this  slavery  ques- 
tion had  not  been  commenced  and  fermented  by  men  who  had  no  pos- 
sible connection  with  it,  and  who,  from  the  nature  of  the  case,  could 
have  no  other  motive  but  political  ambition  and  a  spirit  of  aggression ; 
had  that  subject  been  left  as  we  found  it,  under  the  compromises  of 
the  Constitution,  and  the  laws  of  Grod  and  conscience,  aided  by  an  en- 
lightened understanding  of  their  true  interests — been  left  to  work  their 
silent,  yet  irresistible  influences  on  the  minds  of  men,  there  can  be 
no  doubt  that  thousands  would  have  followed  the  example  of  John 
Randolph,  in  Virginia,  Maryland,  Kentucky,  and  Missouri,  and  that 
long  ere  this,  measures  would  have  been  adopted  for  the  final,  though 
gradual,  extinguishment  of  slavery  within  their  borders  ;  as  it  is,  that 
event  has  again  been  put  off  for  another  generation. 


CIIAPTEE    XVII. 

LOG-BOOK   AND    LETTERS. 

"  As  one  of  the  very  few  persons  in  the  world  (Dr.  Brokenbrough) 
who  really  care  whether  I  sink  or  swim,  I  am  induced  to  send  you 
the  following  extract  from  my  log-book  ;  relying  on  your  partiality  to 
excuse  the  egotism ;  and  if  you  experience  but  the  tenth  part  of  the 
pleasure  I  felt  on  reading  your  account  of  your  November  jaunt,  I 
shall  be  much  gratified,  as  well  as  yourself: — 

"1821,  December  10th,  Monday,  half-past  1 1,  A.  M.  Left  Rich- 
mond.    Four  miles  beyond  the  oaks  met  Mrs.  T b  and  poor  Mrs. 

R h.     Reached  Underwood  half-an-hour  by  run,  and  pushed  on 

to  Sutter's,  where  I  arrived  quarter  past  five.  Very  comfortable  quar- 
ters.    Road  heavy. 

"  11th,  Tuesday.  Breakfasted  at  eight  A.  M.,  and  reached  Batta- 
der  by  quarter  past  twelve.     Fed  my  horses  and  arrived  at  Freder- 


LOG-BOOK  AND  LETTERS.  153 

icksburg  half-past  three.  Koad  heavy.  Mansfield  laue  almost  im- 
passable. Excellent  fare  at  Gray's,  and  the  finest  oysters  I  have  seen 
for  this  ten  year. 

"  1  -2th.  Wednesday.  Hard  frost.  Left  Fredericksburg  at  nine, 
A.  M.  Reached  Stafford,  C.  H.,  at  half-past  eleven,  Dumfries  at  five 
minutes  past  three,  P.  M.,  and  Occoguon  at  half-past  five.  I  made 
no  stop  except  to  breathe  the  horses,  from  Dumfries  to  Xeabsco,  sixty- 
five  minutes  three  and  a  half  miles.  The  five  miles  beyond  Dumfries 
employed  nearly  two  hours.     Roads  indescribable. 

••13th,  Thursday.  Snow;  part  heavy  rain.  Waited  until  meri- 
dian, when,  foreseeing  that  if  the  roads  froze  in  their  then  state,  they 
would  be  impassable ;  and  that  the  waters  between  me  and  Alexan- 
dria would  be  out  perhaps  for  several  days,  I  set  out  in  the  height  of 
the  storm,  and  through  a  torrent  of  mud.  and  water,  and  sloughs  of 
all  degrees  of  viscidity,  I  got  to  Alexandria  before  five,  where  a  fine 
canvas-back,  and  divers  other  good  things,  set  my  blood  into  circula- 
tion. 

"  14th,  Friday.  Bitter  cold.  Reached  Washington  half-past 
eleven.  House  does  not  sit  to-day.  Funeral.  No  southern  mail. 
Waters  out. 

"15th.  Very  cold.  No  southern  mail.  Waters  out.  Just  beyond 
Pohick  I  met  a  man  driving  a  double  chair. 

"  J.  R. — '  Pray,  sir,  can  I  ford  Accotink  V 

"  Traveller. — '■  If  you  drive  brisk  perhaps  you  may.' 

"  J.  R. — '  Did  you  cross  it,  sir  V 

"  T. — :  Yes  ;  but  it  is  rising  very  fast.' 

"  As  I  pressed  my  little  mare  on.  or  rather  as  she  pushed  on  after 
comrade  and  Johnny,  I  thought  of  Sir  Arthur  and  Miss  Wardour, 
of  the  old  Gabertunzie,  as,  in  breathless  anxiety,  they  turned  the 
head-land,  and  found  the  water-mark  under  water.  Pohick,  a  most 
dangerous  ford  at  all  times,  from  the  nature  of  the  bend  of  the  stream, 
which  is  what  is  called  a  kettle-bottom,  was  behind  me,  and  no  retreat 
and  no  house  better  than  old  Lear's  hovel,  except  the  church,  where 
were  no  materials  for  a  fire.  When  I  reached  Accotink.  the  sand- 
bank in  the  middle  of  the  stream  was  uncovered  ;  but  for  near  a  mile 
I  was  up  to  the  saddle-skirts.  A  great  price,  my  good  sir,  for  the 
privilege  of  franking  a  letter,  and  the  honor  of  being  overlooked  by 
the  great  men.  new  as  well  as  old. 

"  Just  at  the  bridge  over  Hunting  Creek,  beyond  Alexandria,  I 
met  the  mail  cart  and  its  solitary  driver.      The  fog  was  Cimmerian. 

"  J.  R. — :  How  far  do  you  go  to-night,  friend  V 

';  D.— ;  To  Stafford  Court-house,  sir.    'Can  I  ford  the  Accotink  ?' 

-  J.  R. — •  I  think  you  may  ;  but  it  will  be  impossible  before  mid- 
night :  I  am  really  sorry  for  you.' 

"  D. — '  God  bless  your  honor.' 

vol.  11.  7* 


154  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

"  I  am  satisfied  this  poor  fellow  encounters  every  night  dangers 
and  sufferings  in  comparison  with  which  those  of  our  heroes  are  flea- 
bites. 

"  Friday  morning.  Your  letter  of  the  25th  (Christmas  day)  did 
not  reach  me  until  this  morning.  I  have  been  long  mourning  over 
the  decline  of  our  old  Christmas  sports  and  pastimes,  which  have 
given  way  to  a  spirit  of  sullen  fanaticism  on  the  one  hand,  or  affected 
fashionable  refinement  on  the  other,  which  thinly  veils  the  selfishness 
and  inhospitality  it  is  designed  to  cover.  Your  own  letter  may  be 
cited  as  a  proof  that  I  am  no  grumbler  (in  this  instance  at  least)  at 
the  times,  although  friend  Lancaster,  after  puffing  me  in  his  wfty, 
was  moved  by  the  spirit  (when  I  would  not  subscribe  to  his  books)  to 
say  that  the  character  I  disclaimed  in  the  H.  of  R.  was  the  one  that 
fitted  me.  '  Difficilis,  querulus,  laudatur  temporis  acti.'  You  date 
on  Christmas  day  ;  you  do  not  make  the  least  mention  of  the  season, 
into  such  '  desuetude '  has  the  commemoration  of  the  nativity  of  the 

great  Redeemer  fallen.     On  the  eve  of  that  day  P a  gave  a  grand 

diplomatic  dinner,  at  which  Messrs.  les  Envoyes  enrages  were  pre- 
sent, but  held  no  intercourse.  At  this  dinner  J.  Q.  A.  (the  cub  is  a 
greater  bear  than  the  old  one)  gave  this  toast,  rising  from  his  chair 
at  the  time :  '  Alexander  the  Great,  Emperor  of  all  the  Russias,  and 

the  Cross.'     Cross  vs.  Crescent,  I  presume  ;  and  no  doubt  M.  P a 

wrote  to  his  court,  announcing  '  the  disposition  of  this  government 
towards  Russia.'  He  is  a  wretched  ass  (this  P.),  who  is  writing  a 
book  on  America,  and  whom  every  body  quizzes.  Some  very  laugh- 
able instances  of  this  have  been  related  to  me.  Travelling  through 
Ohio,  he  was  as  much  scandalized  as  John  Wesley  by  the  want  of  a 
commodite,  and  took  the  host  to  task  about  it.  The  fellow  gravely 
assured  him  that  were  he  to  erect  such  a  temple  to  a  heathen  and 
obscure  deity,  the  people  would  rise  in  arms  and  burn  it  to  the  ground  ; 
and  this  mystification  completely  took,  and  was  clapped  down  in 
P 's  notes.     I  expect  to  see  it  under  the  head  of  state  of  religion. 

"  To  return.  The  next  day  the  parties  were  reconciled,  and  all  is 
hushed  up.  Yesterday,  I  had  the  honor  of  a  visit  from  M.  l'Envoye 
de  sa  Majeste  tres  Chretienne  and  the  Secretary  of-  Legation.  This 
great  honor  and  distinction  (for  such  the  folks  here  deem  it)  I  sus- 
pect 1  owe  to  the  exercise  of  a  quality  for  which  I  have  not,  I  fear, 
been  greatly  distinguished ;  I  mean  discretion  ;  for,  although  I  was 
present,  I  refused  to  be  a  referee,  when  applied  to  from  various  quar- 
ters, on  the  subject  of  the  quarrel.  I  did  not  hesitate  to  say  that  cer- 
tain very  offensive  words  imputed  to  de  N.  were  not  uttered  by  him ; 
but  I  declined  giving  any  account  of  the  matter,  except  to  my  old 
friend,  Mr.  Macon,  and  one  other  person,  forbidding  the  mentioning 
of  my  name  under  the  strongest  sanctions. 

"  On    reading  over   the    above,  I  perceive  that  it  is  '  horribly 


LOG-BOOK  AND  LETTERS.  155 

stuffed'  with  scraps  of  French.  This  apparent  affectation  (for  it  is 
only  apparent)  is  owing  to  a  silly  falling  in  with  the  fashion  in  this 
place,  where  the  commonest  English  word  or  phrase  is  generally  ren- 
dered in  (not  always  good)  French. 

"  I  showed  your  letter  to  my  most  discreet  friend,  Mr.  Macon. 
He  concurs  with  me  that  the  first  part  (relative  to  the  chair)  of  what 
you  heard  is  pretty  much  '  all  my  eye,  Betty  ; '  but  will  not  agree  as 
to  the  remainder,  which  I  class  under  the  same  head.  Else  how 
comes  the  greatest  latitudinarian  in  our  State,  and  a  professed  one 
too,  who  acknowledges  no  :  law,'  but  his  favorite  one  of  circumstances, 
a  bank  man,  or  any  thing  you  please,  to  have  received  greater  and 
more  numerous  marks  of  the  favor  of  the  Legislature  of  Virginia 
(recent  ones  too)  than  any  citizen  in  it,  the  three  last  Presidents  ex- 
cepted ?  I  detest  mock-modesty,  and  will  not  deny  that  if  I  had  the 
disposition,  and  could  undergo  the  labor,  (neither  of  which  is  the  case,) 
I  might  acquire  a  certain  degree  of  influence  in  the  House,  chiefly 
confined,  however,  to  the  small  minority  of  old-fashioned  Republicans. 
As  to  the  first  station,  there  was  a  time  in  which  I  might  not  have 
disgraced  it,  for  I  had  quickness  and  a  perfect  knowledge  of  our 
rules  and  orders,  with  a  competent  acquaintance  with  parliamentary 
law  in  general.  But  since  the  dictatorship  of  Mr.  C — y,  '  on  a  change 
tout  cela'  (French  again),  and  I  am  now  almost  as  raw  as  our  newest 
recruits.  Then,  too,  I  had  habits  of  application  to  business  ;  but, 
my  good  friend,  while  I  am  running  on  (Alnaschar-like),  I  protest  I 

believe  the  thought  entered  no  head  but  Mr.  S 's  (to  whom,  of 

course,  I  am  much  obliged  for  his  good  opinion)  ;  for  no  suggestion 
of  the  sort  ever  occurred  to  me  until  I  read  it  under  your  hand. 

"  My  days  of  business,  of  active  employment,  are  over.  ,  My  judg- 
ment, I  believe,  has  not  deserted  me,  and  when  it  does,  as  old  George 
Mason  said,  I  shall  be  the  last  person  in  the  world  to  find  it  out : 
my  principles  I  am  sure  have  not ;  and  if,  which  God  forbid,  they 
should,  I  shall  be  the  first  person  to  find  it  out.  Till  that  shall  hap- 
pen, I  will  be  '  the  warder  on  the  lonely  hill.' 

"  Why  cannot  all  the  honest  men  (not  poor  Burr's  sort)  unite  in  a 
man  for  the  presidency  who  possesses:  1.  Integrity,  2.  firmness,  3. 
great  political  experience,  4.  sound  judgment  and  strong  common 
sense,  5.  ardent  love  of  country  and  of  its  institutions  and  their  spirit, 
6.  unshaken  political  consistency  in  the  worst  of  times,  7.  manners  (if 
not  courtly)  correct.     I  could  name  such  a  man. 

"  Apropos  to  Burr.  1  have  been  reflecting  this  morning  on  the 
fate  of  some  of  the  most  active  and  influential  (pardon  the  slang)  of 
them  that  contributed  to  effectuate  the  change  in  1800-1.  Burr 
stands  foremost  ;  Ned.  Livingston  ;  W.  C.  N.  !  though  last,  not  least. 
It  is  mournful  to  think  on.  I  might  mention  a  good  many  more  who 
played  an  under  part  in  the  drama,  such  as  Duane,  Merriwether, 
Jones.  &c.  &c." 


156  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

In  the  appropriation  bill  for  the  ensuing  year,  there  was  a  large 
undefined  appropriation  for  the  Indian  Department  asked  for  by  the 
Secretary  of  War,  and  was  understood  to  be  intended  to  cover  up  a 
deficiency  of  the  past  year.  Mr.  Randolph,  the  4th  of  January,  1822, 
moved  a  re-commitment  of  the  bill. 

"  Unreasonable  jealousy  of  the  Executive  Government."  said  he, 
"  often  led  to  the  opposite  extreme — a  blind  confidence  in  the  govern- 
ing power.  From  this  jealousy  and  confidence  he  felt  himself  free. 
He  believed  that  this  House  also  was  as  free  from  unreasonable 
jealousy  as  any  reasonable  body  ought  to  be.  In  fact,  jealousy  in 
public  life  was  like  that  same  '  green-eyed  monster'  in  the  domestic 
circle,  which  poisoned  the  source  of  all  social  happiness.  It  was 
extraordinary,  and  yet  apparent,  that  the  case  had  occurred  in  which 
confidence  had  lost  its  true  character,  and  taken  another,  which  he 
would  not  name  in  this  House.  It  was  remarkable,  as  well  on  the 
other  side  of  the  Atlantic  as  this,  that  a  general  suspicion  had  gone 
abroad,  that  the  department  which  emphatically  holds  the  purse- 
strings  of  the  nation,  was  more  remiss  than  any  other  in  guarding 
against  the  expenditure  of  its  subordinate  agents.  If  it  should  be 
generally  and  unanswerably  understood,  that  the  body  whose  duty 
it  was  to  guard  the  public  treasure  from  wasteful  expenditure,  had 
abandoned  their  trust  to  a  blind  confidence  in  the  dispensers  of  pub- 
lic patronage,  they  must  immediately  and  justly  lose  all  the  confi- 
dence of  the  community.  He  had  heard  yesterday,  with  astonish- 
ment, a  proposition  to  surrender  inquiry  to  a  confidence  in  the 
integrity  and  ability  in  the  officer  who  had  made  the  requisition. 
When  this  House  should  be  disposed  to  become  a  mere  chamber  in 
which  to  register  the  edicts,  not  of  the  President,  but  of  the  heads  of 
departments,  it  would  be  unimportant  whether  the  members  of  this 
House  professed  to  represent  35,000  freemen,  or  collectively  the 
single  borough  of  Sarum.  This  proceeding  was  to  him  unprece- 
dented. *  *  *  *  He  would  give  to  the  Government  his  confidence 
when  it  was  necessary,  and  he  would  not  give  it  to  the  Government, 
nor  to  any  man  further  than  that,  unless  to  his  bosom  friend.  But 
there  was  a  wide  difference  between  voting  for  an  advance  for  the 
service  of  the  current  year,  and  voting  for  the  same  sum  to  cover  a 
deficiency  of  the  past  year,  under  cover  of  an  advance  for  the  present 
year." 

The  same  day,  January  4th,  before  making  the  above  speech,  he 
thus  writes  to  Dr.  Brockenbrough : 

"  A  question  will  come  on  to-day  respecting  an  appropriation, 
ostensibly  in  advance  (or  '  on  account,'  as  trading  folks  say)  of  the 
military  expenditures  of  the  current  year  ;  but  really  to  cover  a  defi- 


LOG-BOOK  AND  LETTERS.  157 

ciency  (or  excess  of  expenditure)  for  the  last  year.  The  sum  is  only 
$100,000;  yet,  my  word  for  it!  this  honest  gentleman  (who  had 
kept  him  up  half  a  night  to  win  back  a  few  dollars)  will  vote  it  with- 
out the  least  scruple,  at  the  nod  of  an  executive  officer.  In  short, 
the  greater  part  of  us  view  with  equal  eye 

'  The  public  million  and  the  private  groat.' 

"  The  '  arguments'  yesterday,  when  the  question  was  pending, 
were  '  Having  the  fullest  confidence  in  the  head  of  the  war  depart- 
ment ;'  '  can  any  gentleman  believe  or  suppose  that  the  Secretary  of 
War  could  ask  an  improper  appropriation,'  &c,  &c,  all  to  the  same 
tune ;  and  although  Tracey,  of  New- York,  and  Trimble,  of  Kentucky, 

distinctly  opposed  the  imposition,  that  old  sinner, of  '  MarlandJ 

by  sheer  force  of  lungs,  induced  some  right  well-meaning  people  to 
think  the  objections  (which  they  did  not  understand,  nor  the  answer 

neither)  satisfactorily  repelled.     Even  L s,  with  whom  I  dined, 

agreed  that  the  thing  was  wrong ;  said  he  had  told  S.  S.  it  ought  to 
be  in  a  separate  grant,  expressive  of  its  true  character ;  but  that  S. 
said  '  he  did  not  like  to  trust  it,'  and  so  thrust  it  in  the  partial  appro- 
priation bill  for  1822,  where  he  hoped,  no  doubt,  it  would  pass  unob- 
served. 

"  By  the  way,  I  believe   I  wrote  that  C n  had  '  accepted.' 

He  and  L.  are,  I  think,  shot  dead  by  their  want  of  retenue.  More 
French,  and  I  am  not  sure  that  it  is  good  French. 

'•  On  the  day  of  your  '  debauch,'  I  dined  with  Van  Buren  and  the 
whole  New-York  delegation  in  both  Houses,  with  the  V.  P.  at  their 
head.  Although  it  no  doubt  had  a  meaning  like  '  the  shake  of  the 
head'  in  the  '  Critic,'  I  did  not  exactly  find  it  out,  but  I  believe  I  was 
not  far  off  the  true  construction.      Many  here  think  that  neither 

C n,  nor  C s,  nor  C y  will  be   '  run' — that  this  is  but  a 

ruse  de  guerre  to  weaken  C d  and  of  course  strengthen  the  East- 
ern and  Northern  interest. 

"  Since  I  came  to  the  House,  Baldwin,  speaking  of  the  present 
candidate,  said  to  me — "  The  people  ought  to  put  down  (I  trust  they 
will)  every  man  who  has  put  himself  forward  at  this  premature  time.' 
I  left  my  letter  open  for  what  I  might  hear,  and  I  have  heard  nothing 
else." 

•'  Washington,  Jan.  13,  1822. — My  good  friend — I  had  taken  it 
for  granted  that  you  were  gone.  Orpheus  like,  to  fetch  your  wife  from 
the  infernal  regions,  or  at  least  through  infernal  ways,  when  I  received, 
this  morning,  your  welcome  letter  of  Friday  (the  11th).  The  truth 
is,  I  am  disappointed  by  the  Enquirer,  and  so  you  may  tell  him.  Al- 
though it  is  not  very  desirable  to  be  studiously  misrepresented  and 
caricatured  to  the  rest  of  the  States,  yet  I  was  fain  to  content  myself 
with  standing  (substantially  at  least,  if  not  in  form)  on  my  own  title, 


158  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

with  the  good  people  of  poor  old  Virginia  (God  help  her !)  through 
the  medium  of  the  Enquirer.   When  any  of  the  courtiers  are  to  speak, 

G- s  takes  his  seat  in  his  box,  and  makes  the  best  report  he  can : 

e.  g.  McD 's  speech,  which  is  greatly  softened  in  point  of  arro- 
gance, and  which  is  much  improved  by  the  total  omission  of  the  sui- 
cidal declaration  towards  its  close,  that  the  money  was  wanting  '  to 
pay  vouched  accounts  then  lying  on  the  Secretary  of  War's  table.' 
When  one  of  the  country  party  speak,  the  duty  is  devolved  upon  an 
incapable  deputy ;  but  mere  incapacity  will  not  account  for  such  man- 
ifest and  repeated  perversions.  Take  the  following  as  some  among 
the  most  glaring  in  the  last  report  of  a  speech  which  satisfied  many 
others  much  more  than  it  did  its  author.  (Here  follow  numerous  cor- 
rections of  the  report  alluded  to.) 

"  The  words  for  which  I  was  called  to  order  by  S.,  are  not  those 
stated  in  the  report.  Those  words  were  subsequently  used — I  said 
not  one  syllable  about  the  soldiers  '  dealing  in  perfumery.'  What  the 
creature  means  I  can't  even  divine.  In  short,  it  may  be  considered 
as  the  greatest  outrage  of  the  sort  ever  committed." 

"  Tuesday,  Jan.  15.  1822. — I  wrote  you  a  letter  the  day  before 
yesterday,  in  a  character  that  might  have  passed  for  Sir  Anthony 
Scrabblestone's.  You  no  doubt  remember  that  old  acquaintance  of 
our  reverend  friend  the  holy  Clerk  of  Copmanhurst,  and  are  full  as 
well  acquainted  with  his  handwriting  as  that  pious  anchorite  was 
with  his  person.  However,  I  have  (in  addition  to  the  apology  that 
my  implements  are  furnished  by  contract)  the  further  justification  of 
my  Lord  Arlington's  high  authority 

"  Did  you  preserve  the  Baltimore  paper  that  contained  No.  18,  of 
:a  Native  Virginian?'  Nos.  19  and  20  have  since  been  sent  me. 
They  are  well  written,  and  unanswered,  if  not  unanswerable.  Had 
they  appeared  in  a  paper  of  general  circulation,  and  one  that  possess- 
ed any  share  of  public  confidence,  they  would,  I  think,  have  produced 
some  effect,  if  indeed  the  public  be  not  dead  to  all  sensation. 

"  There  is  a  young  man  here  by  the  name  of  Chiles,  making  re- 
ports of  our  proceedings  for  the  '  Boston  Daily  Advertiser.'  Mr. 
Mills  of  the  Senate  (from  Massachusetts)  gave  me  his  report  of  the 
doings  of  Friday,  the  4th  instant — with  the  help  of  such  a  report  as 
that.  I  could  have  given  Mr.  Ritchie  what  I  said  almost  verbatim. 
Bat  the  truth  is,  that  after  the  occasion  passes  away,  I  can  seldom  rc- 
c:ill  what  I  said  until  I  am  put  in  mind,  by  what  I  did  not  say,  or  by 
Millie  catch-word;  at  the  same  time,  I  have  given  Mr.  Ritchie  the 
substance,  and,  where  any  particular  word  or  incident  occurred,  the 
very  language  that  I  used.  I  am  determined,  hereafter,  to  wait  for 
Chiles's  report  from  Boston,  and  with  a  slight  alteration,  when  neces- 
sary, I  will  send  it  to  the  Enquirer.  The  N.  I.  does  not  condense  as 
lie  pretends.       Of  all  the  speeches  made  on  the  subject,  it  was  the 


LOG-BOOK  AND  LETTERS  159 

longest  and  the  most  audible.  In  the  report  it  is  one  of  the  shortest, 
and  yet  stuffed  with  expletives  not  used  by  me,  as  well  as  perver- 
sions of  meaning.  There  is  no  mistaking  this,  when  continually  oc- 
curring. 

"  The  discussion  of  the  M.  A.  bill  has  done  me  no  service." 

'•'Jan.  18.  1822. — I'm  afraid  you  think  me  such  a  tiresome  ego- 
tist that  you  are  fain  to  drop  my  correspondence.  To  say  the  truth, 
I  am  vexed  at  being  made  to  talk  such  nonsense,  and  bad  English 
into  the  bargain — 'proven'  cum  multis  aliis  ejusdem  farinae,  familiar 
enough,  indeed,  to  congressional  ears,  but  which  never  escaped  from 
my  lips. 

u  There  is  a  very  impudent  letter  in  Walsh,  which  I  half  suspect 
he  wrote  to  himself — ;  hungry  mouths  to  stop,  and  dogs  not  above 
eating  dirty  pudding' — must  sound  peculiarly  offensive  in  his  ears, 
since  he  could  not  even  get  the  run  of  the  kitchen  when  he  was  here 
in  1816-17.  At  that  time  he  had  the  effrontery  to  tell  me  to  my 
face,  that  he  had  no  doubt  I  was  far  more  eloquent  than  Patrick 
Henry.  The  Intelligencer  puts  words  into  my  mouth  that  I  never 
uttered,  and  these  furnish  the  basis  of  Mr.  W.'s  comments,  with  those 
great  critics  and  annotators — for  '  debate,'  read  '  detail '  (which  I 
said  neither  health  nor  inclination  allowed  me  to  enter  into),  and 
what  becomes  of  the  comment  1  Of  one  thing  I  am  sure,  that  the 
House  is  not  yet  becoming  tired  of  me  ;  and  I  shall  take  especial 
care  that  it  do  not." 

"Jan.  19. — My  avocations  are  such,  that  my  time,  like  my 
money,  runs  away  in  driblets,  without  producing  an  'effected  I  have 
more  than  once  thought  of  using  my  pen  in  some  other  way  besides 
scribbling  to  you  :  but,  some  how  or  other.  I  can  find  none  so  pleasant, 
and  time  is  always  wanting.  I  have  read  nothing,  but  have  been 
very  much  in  company.  Like  the  long  waists  of  our  mothers.  I  really 
believe  I  am  growing,  if  not  generally,  at  least  somewhat,  in  fashion. 
But  I  hope  I  am  not  so  old  a  fool  as  to  presume  upon  this ;  for  of  all 
fools,  an  old  one  is  the  least  tolerable. 

K  Like  most  jmrvenus,  the  man  you  mention  is  a  sorry  black- 
guard, in  dress,  manners,  figure  (a  complete  paddy),  countenance, 
and  principle.  I  could  have  given  him  '  such  a  sackfull  of  sair 
bones,'  that  he  could  have  borne  the  marks  to  his  grave.  But  I  pur- 
posely abstained  from  the  slightest  notice  of  him.  It  is  not  the  least 
of  our  success  against  temptation,  to  suppress  the  overwhelming  re- 
tort, and,  just  as  it  rises  to  the  tongue,  to  give  a  good  gulp  and  swal- 
low it." 

..  Fe0  [ — You  will  see  a  correction  of  Gales's  in  yesterday's  Intel- 
ligencer. He  has  restored  the  words  that  I  used,  almost  verbatim. 
They  were  these  :  '  Transubstautiation,  I  was  going  to  say  ;  but  I 
would  not,  from  respect  to  a  numerous  and  most  respectable  class  of 


1(30  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

persons ;  but  would  say,  as  any  in  priestcraft,  kingcraft,  or  another 
craft  which  (as  great  as  is  the  Diana  of  the  Ephesians  !)  I  would  not 
name.'  Yet  I  have  received  an  indignant  remonstrance  from  a 
Roman  Catholic  of  Washington  City,  '  on  my  invective  against  that 
sect,'  of  which  you  may  see  some  notice  in  to-morrow's  Moniteur. 

Administration  is  sunk  into  much  contempt  with  our  House,  and 
the  other  too.  They  hail  from  '  four  corners.'  Instead  of  Dana's 
'  triangular  war,'  we  have  a  quadrangular  one.  They  must  dissolve 
in  their  own  imbecility.  By  the  way,  I  want  my  '  native  Virginian,' 
when  you  are  clone  with  him. 

"  I  trust  the  Virginian  Government  will  not  be  weak  enough  to 
dismiss  the  "  claim  "  of  Kentucky.  I  suspect  it  was  got  up  to  defray 
C s'  electioneering  campaign  for  the  winter." 

"  Feb.  7. — I  am  at  last  gratified  by  a  letter  from  you.  To  say 
the  truth,  I  had  rather,  much  rather,  that  the  thing  had  not  ap- 
peared ;  but  as  to  '  being  affronted '  at  it,  that  was  out  of  the  ques- 
tion. Indeed,  if  I  do  not  egregiously  deceive  myself,  a  great  change 
has  been  wrought  in  my  character.  I  am  become  quiet  and  sedate — 
torpid,  if  you  will — but  much  less  disposed  to  take  or  give  offence 
than  I  once  was.  This  remark  is  made,  not  in  reference  to  the  little 
incident  above  alluded  to,  but  in  that  vein  of  egotism  to  which  I  am 
too  prone. 

"  Y"ou  do  right  in  endeavoring  to  reconcile  L.  and  T.  ;  but  in  the 
course  of  my  observation,  I  cannot  recall  a  single  instance  of  cordi- 
ality between  reconciled  friends.  Poor  human  nature !  The  view 
which  I  am  compelled  to  take  of  it  every  day,  augments  my  pity  for 
it.  We  dare  not  trust  ourselves  with  the  truth.  It  is  too  terrible. 
Hence  the  whole  world  is  in  masquerade.  '  Words  were  invented,' 
said  Talleyrand,  '  to  conceal  our  thoughts.'  Hence,  a  conventional 
language,  in  which  it  is  understood  that  things  are  never  to  be 
called  by  their  right  names,  and  which  at  last  ceases  to  answer  its 
original  design,  except  with  the  vulgar  great  and  small. 

"  I  must  be  a  very  uncommon  personage  to  '  astonish  all  the 
world'  with  what  I  do  not  do.  Since  I  am  not  able  to  astonish  them 
with  my  exploits,  it  is  very  good  in  them  to  be  negatively  charged  on 
my  account.  I  heartily  wish  that  I  had  never  given  them  any  other 
cause  of  wonder. 

"  Poor  T.  T r  !     I  know  his  disease.     It  has  been  killing  me 

inch-meal,  a  long,  long  while.  Give  him  my  best  regards.  It  is  a 
dreadful  thing  to  find  out,  as  he  has  done,  too  late,  what  stuff  the 
world  is  made  of ;  to  have  an  illusion  dispelled  that  made  life  agree- 
able to  us.  Did  you  ever  read  '  Cobbett's  Sermons,'  or  his  '  Cottage 
Economy  V  If  not,  pray  do.  They  are  written  with  great  originality 
and  power,  and  I  heartily  wish  they  were  in  the  hands  of  all  who 
can  read. 


THE  APPORTIONMENT  BILL.  IQ\ 

<;  There  has  been  a  great  deal  of  stuff  uttered  in  our  House  for 
the  last  two  or  three  days.  It  has  degenerated  into  a  mere  bear 
garden  ;  and,  really,  when  I  see  strangers  on  the  platform,  I  feel 
ashamed  of  belonging  to  the  body.  I  have  been  a  good  deal  pressed 
to  join  the  squabble  ;  for  it  don't  deserve  the  name  of  debate  ;  but  I 
have  refrained,  if  the  expression  can  be  applied,  where,  instead  of 
desire,  one  feels  only  disgust.  I  have  not  yet  seen  the  Chief  Justice, 
although  we  have  exchanged  visits.  I  am  glad  to  hear  that  you  in- 
tend to  '  write  again  soon.'  If  you  knew  the  feeling  I  have  when  a 
letter  from  you  is  brought  in,  you  would  shower  them  down  like  snow. 
My  health  and  spirits  are  incurably  bad.  If  I  can  raise  the  money, 
I  mean  to  dissipate  my  chagrin  and  ennui  in  some  foreign  land.  In- 
cessant change  of  place,  and  absence  of  all  occupation,  seem  indis- 
pensable to  my  tolerable  existence.  I  am  become  almost  reconciled 
to  pain  ;  but  there  is  a  sensation  of  another  sort  that  is  worse  than 
death.  Familiar  as  I  am  to  it,  it  serves  but  to  increase  its  misery. 
At  this  moment,  I  am  obliged  to  relinquish  my  pen  from  the  com- 
bined effects  of  bodily  disease  and  mental  distress.     Adieu. 

"J.  R.  of  R." 


CHAPTER    XVIII. 

THE   APPORTIONMENT  BILL. 

"  Government,  to  be  safe  and  to  be  free,  must  consist  of  Representatives  having  a 
common  interest  and  a  common  feeling  with  the  represented." — John  Ran- 
dolph. 

The  great  business  of  the  session  was  the  apportionment  of  repre- 
sentatives among  the  States,  according  to  the  new  census.  It  seems 
to  have  been  the  policy  of  Congress,  as  the  population  increased,  to 
increase  the  ratio  of  representation  from  decade  to  decade,  so  as  to 
keep  down  the  numbers  of  the  House  of  Representatives.  This  sub- 
ject was  one  of  exciting  interest  to  all  parties.  None  felt  more  deeply 
than  Mr.  Randolph,  not  only  the  importance  of  the  principles  involved 
but  the  serious  influence  the  new  apportionment  was  likely  to  have 
on  the  relative  weight  and  standing  of  the  old  Commonwealth  which 
he  had  been  so  proud  to  represent  for  so  many  years,  as  the  Empire 
State.  "  Yesterday  I  rose,  (says  he,  the  7th  of  February,  the  day  the 
question  was  taken)  at  3,  and  to-day   at  2,  A.  M.     I  cannot  sleep. 


162  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

Two  bottles  of  champagne,  or  a  dozen  of  gas,  could  not  have  excited 
me  like  this  apportionment  bill." 

A  variety  of  propositions  were  made  to  fix  the  ratio,  ranging  from 
35,000  to  75,000.  The  committee  reported  40,000.  Mr.  Tucker,  of 
Virginia,  proposed  38,000.  By  the  ratio  of  the  committee,  Virginia 
would  lose  one  member,  and  fall  below  New-York  and  Pennsylvania. 
By  the  ratio  of  Mr.  Tucker  she  would  retain  her  present  delegation  in 
Congress.  Mr.  Randolph  was  in  favor  of  the  latter  proposition.  But 
his  arguments  reach  far  beyond  the  particular  interest  his  own  State 
had  in  the  question.  They  are  profound  and  statesmanlike — are  wor- 
thy of  our  most  serious  consideration — and  the  principle  they  evolve 
should  be  made  a  cardinal  doctine  in  the  creed  of  those  who  hold  that 
the  responsibility  of  the  representative — the  independence  and  sover- 
eignty of  the  States,  and  the  cautious  action  of  the  Federal  Govern- 
ment on  the  subjects  strictly  limited  to  it,  are  the  only  sound  rules 
for  interpreting  the  Constitution.  The  danger  is  in  having  too  small 
a  representation.  No  country  was  ever  ruined  by  the  expense  of  its 
legislation  ;  better  pay  an  army  of  legislators  than  an  army  of  soldiers. 

"  I  cannot  enter  into  the  reasoning,"  said  Mr.  Randolph,  "  which 
goes  to  show  that  two  hundred  members,  or  this  ratio  of  42.000,  or 
what  not,  is  to  serve  some  great  political  purpose,  whilst  one  member 
more  or  less,  or  1000  in  the  ratio,  more  or  less,  would  produce  a  ca- 
lamitous effect.  To  such  prescience  which  could  discover  such  impor- 
tant effects  from  such  causes  he  had  no  claim  ;  but  this  he  would  say, 
it  was  made  an  objection  to  the  Constitution  by  some  of  the  greatest 
men  this  country  ever  produced,  and  perhaps  as  great  as  it  ever  would 
produce.  It  was,  in  itself,  a  vital  objection  to  George  Mason's  putting 
his  hand  to  the  Constitution,  that  the  representation  in  Cougress  was 
limited  not  to  exceed  one  member  for  every  30,000  souls,  whilst  on 
the  other  hand,  a  most  unbounded  discussion  was  given  over  the  in- 
crease of  the  ratio.  It  was  an  objection  to  the  Constitution,  on  the 
part  of  some  of  the  wisest  men  this  country  ever  produced.  It  was  an 
objection  on  the  part  of  Patrick  Henry,  whose  doubts,  I  need  not  ask 
you,  Mr.  Speaker,  to  recur  to.  I  fear  you  have  been  too  familiar 
with  them  in  the  shape  of  verified  predictions,  whose  doubts  experi- 
ence has  proved  to  be  prophetic.  On  a  question  of  this  sort,  shall  we 
be  told  of  the  expense  of  compensating  a  few  additional  members  of 
this  body  1  He  knew  we  had,  in  a  civil  point  of  view,  perhaps  the 
most  expensive  government  under  the  sun.  We  had.  taking  one  gen- 
tleman's declaration,  an  army  of  legislators.  There  was  a  time,  and  he 
wished  he  might  live  to  see  it  again,  when  the  legislators  of  the  country 


THE  APPORTIONMENT  BILL.  1Q3 

outnumbered  the  rank  and  file  of  the  army,  and  the  officers  to  boot. 
I  wish  I  may  see  it  again.  Did  any  man  ever  hear  of  a  country  ru- 
ined by  the  expense  of  its  legislation?  Yes.  as  the  sheep  are  ruined 
by  so  much  as  is  required  for  the  nourishment  of  the  dogs.  As  to 
the  civil  list,  to  pay  a  host  of  legislators,  is  it  this  pay  that  has  run 
up  the  national  debt?  Is  it  their  pay  that  produces  defalcations  of 
the  revenue  ?  Did  mortal  man  ever  hear  of  a  country  that  was  ru- 
ined by  the  expense  of  its  civil  list,  and  more  especially  by  the  legis- 
lative branch  of  it?  We  must  take  a  number  that  is  convenient  for 
business,  and  at  the  same  time  sufficiently  great  to  represent  the  in- 
terests of  this  great  empire.  This  empire,  he  was  obliged  to  say, 
for  the  term  republic  had  gone  out  of  fashion.  He  would  warn,  not 
this  House,  for  they  stood  in  no  need  of  it,  but  the  good,  easy,  sus- 
ceptible people  of  this  country,  against  the  empiricism  in  politics, 
against  the  delusion  that  because  a  government  is  representative, 
equally  representative,  if  you  will,  it  must  therefore  be  free.  Govern- 
ment, to  be  safe  and  to  be  free,  must  consist  of  representatives  having 
a  common  interest  and  common  feeling  with  the  represented. 

When  I  hear  of  settlements  at  the  Council  Bluffs,  and  of  bills  for 
taking  possession  of  the  mouth  of  the  Columbia  River,  I  turn,  not  a 
deaf  ear,  but  an  ear  of  a  different  sort  to  the  sad  vaticination  of 
what  is  to  happen  in  the  length  of  time :  believing,  as  I  do,  that 
no  government  extending  from  the  Atlantic  to  the  Pacific  can  be  fit 
to  govern  me,  or  those  whom  I  represent.  There  is  death  in  the  pot, 
compound  it  how  you  will.  No  such  government  can  exist,  because  it 
must  want  the  common  feeling  and  common  interest  with  the  govern- 
ed, which  is  indispensable  to  its  existence.  *  *  *  *  The  first  House 
of  Representatives  consisted  of  but  sixty-five  members.  Mr.  Ran- 
dolph said  he  well  remembered  that  House.  He  saw  it  often,  and 
that  very  fact  was,  he  said,  to  him  a  serious  objection  to  so  small  a 
representation  on  this  floor.  The  truth  is,  said  he,  we  came  out  of 
the  old  Constitution  in  a  chrysalis  state,  under  unhappy  auspices. 
The  members  of  the  body  that  framed  the  Constitution  were  second 
to  none  in  respectability.  But  they  had  been  so  long  without  power, 
they  had  so  long  seen  the  evils  of  a  government  without  power,  that 
it  begot  in  them  a  general  disposition  to  have  king  Stork  substituted 
for  king  Log.  They  organized  a  Congress  to  consist  of  a  small  num- 
ber of  members,  and  what  was  the  consequence  ?  Every  one  in  the 
slightest  degree  conversant  with  the  subject  must  know,  that  on  the 
first  step  in  any  government  depends,  in  a  great  degree,  the  charac- 
ter and  complexion  of  that  government.  What,  I  repeat,  was  the 
consequence  of  the  then  limited  number  of  the  representative  body  ? 
Many,  very  many,  indeed  all  that  could  be  called  fundamental  laws, 
were  passed  by  a  majority,  which,  in  the  aggregate,  hardly  exceeded  in 
number  the  committee  which  was  the  other  day  appointed  to  bring  in 


164  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

the  bill  now  on  your  table  ;  and  thereby,  said  he,  hangs  (not  a  tale, 
but)  very  serious  ones,  which  it  is  improper  to  open  here  and  now. 
Among  the  other  blessings  which  we  have  received  from  past  legisla- 
tion, we  should  not  have  been  sitting  at  this  place  if  there  had  been 
a  different  representation.  Those  who  administered  the  government 
were  in  a  hurry  to  go  into  the  business  of  legislation  before  they 
were  ready — and  here  I  must  advert  to  what  had  been  said  with  re- 
gard to  the  redundance  of  debate.  For  my  part,  said  he,  I  wish  we 
could  have  done  nothing  but  talk,  unless,  indeed,  we  had  gone  to 
sleep  for  many  years  past ;  and  coinciding  in  the  sentiment  which 
had  fallen  from  the  gentlemen  from  New-York,  give  me  fifty  speeches. 
I  care  not  how  dull  or  how  stupid,  rather  than  one  law  on  the 
statute  book ;  and  if  I  could  once  see  a  Congress  meet  and  adjourn 
without  passing  any  act  whatever,  I  should  hail  it  as  one  of  the  most 
acceptable  omens.  *  *  *  *  The  case  of  a  State  wisely  governed  by 
its  legislature,  that  of  Connecticut,  for  example,"  he  argued,  ';  would 
be  preposterously  applied  to  this  government,  representing  as  it  does 
more  than  a  million  of  square  miles,  and  more  than  twenty  millions 
of  people,  for  such  ere  long  would  be  the  amount  of  our  population. 
To  say  that  200  shall  be  the  amount  of  our  representation,  and  then 
to  proportion  that  number  among  the  States,  would  be  putting  the 
cart  before  the  horse,  or  making  a  suit  of  clothes  for  a  man  and  then 
taking  his  measure.  The  number  of  representatives  ought  to  be  suf- 
ficient to  enable  the  constituent  to  maintain  with  the  representative 
that  relation  without  which  representative  government  was  as  great  a 
cheat  as  transubstantiation — he  was  going  to  say — but  would  not, 
from  respect  to  a  numerous  and  most  respectable  class  of  persons, 
but  he  would  say,  as  any  priest-craft,  king-craft,  or  another  craft, 
which  (as  great  is  the  Diana  of  the  Ephesians  !)  he  would  not  name. 
When  I  hear  it  proposed  elsewhere  to  limit  the  numbers  of  the  re- 
presentatives of  the  people  on  this  floor,  I  feel  disposed  to  return 
the  answer  of  Agesilaus  when  the  Spartans  were  asked  for  their 
arms — '  come  and  take  them  !' — It  appeared  to  be  the  opinion  of  some 
gentlemen,  who  seemed  to  think  that  He  who  made  the  world  should 
have  consulted  them  about  it,  that  our  population  would  go  on  in- 
creasing, till  it  exceeded  the  limits  of  the  theory  of  our  representative 
government.  He  rememberered  a  case  in  which  it  had  been  seriously 
proposed,  and  by  a  learned  gentleman  too,  that  inasmuch  as  one  of 
his  brethren  was  increasing  his  property  in  a  certain  ratio,  in  the 
course  of  time  it  would  amount,  by  progressive  increase,  to  the  value 
of  the  whole  world,  and  this  man  would  thus  become  master  of 
the  world.  These  calculations  would  serve  as  charades,  conun- 
drums, and  such  matters,  calculated  to  amuse  the  respectable 
class  (much  interested  in  such  matters)  of  old  maids  and  old  bache- 
lors, of  which  Mr.  R.  said  he  was  a  most  unfortunate  member.  To 
this  objection,  that  the  number   of  the  House   would  soon  become 


THE  APPORTIONMENT  BILL.  K35 

too  great,  to  this  bugbear  it  was  sufficient  to  reply,  that  when  the 
case  occurred  it  would  be  time  to  provide  for  it.  We  will  not  take 
the  physic  before  we  are  sick,  remembering  the  old  Italian  epitaph. 
'  I  was  well.  I  would  be  better.  I  took  physic,  and  here  I  am.'  *  *  *  * 
He  was  in  favor  of  making  the  House  as  numerous  as  the  Consti- 
tution would  permit,  always  keeping  within  such  a  number  as  would 
not  be  inconvenient  to  the  House  for  the  transaction  of  business. 
For,  in  that  respect,  the  legislature  of  a  little  Greek  or  Swiss  repub- 
lic might  be  as  numerous  as  that  of  the  Kingdom  of  Great  Britain 
The  only  limit  was,  the  capacity  to  do  business  in  one  chamber ;  and 
it  was  desirable  to  have  as  great  a  number  as  would  keep  on  this  side 
of  a  mob. 

"  One  of  the  most  profound  female  writers  of  the  present  age — 
and,  perhaps,  he  might  amend  by  striking  out  the  word  female — had 
pointed  out  the  superiority  of  the  legislative  body  of  England  over 
that  of  France,  from  the  circumstance  that,  of  the  British  Parlia- 
ment, no  man  is  permitted  to  read  a  speech,  but  is  obliged  to  pro- 
nounce it  extempore ;  while  in  the  French  Legislative  Assembly,  the 
rage  for  making  speeches  was  excited  by  the  usage,  that  any  member 
who  could  manufacture  one.  or  get  some  one  else  to  do  it  for  him, 
ascended  the  tribune,  and  delivered,  and  afterwards  published  it : 
and  hence  their  notion,  that  an  assembly  of  more  than  one  hundred. 
if  composed  of  Newtons,  might  be  called  a  mob.  The  practice  in 
England  naturally  forced  out  the  abilities  of  the  house.  The  speaker 
was  obliged  to  draw  on  his  own  intellectual  resources,  and  upon  those 
talents  with  which  heaven  had  endowed  him.  Talents  descend  from 
heaven  ;  they  are  the  gift  of  God  ;  no  patent  of  nobility  can  confer 
them  ;  and  he  who  had  the  right,  beyond  a  monarch's  power  to  grant, 
did  conduct  the  public  affairs  of  the  country.  By  the  contrary  prac- 
tice, according  to  Madame  Be  Stael,  the  French  nation  was  cheated, 
and  men  passed  for  more  than  they  were  worth.  *  *  *  *  A  gentle- 
man from  Georgia  had  feared  a  large  ratio  would  introduce  an  oli- 
garchy. But  it  would  be  recollected  that  our  government,  in  its 
head,  was  monarchical.  It  was  useless  to  quarrel  about  words,  for 
such  is  the  fact ;  and,  as  some  writers  say,  not  the  best  form  of  mo- 
narchy, the  elective  ;  but  on  this  he  would  express  no  opinion.  There 
was  another  body  that  was  oligarchical — the  Senate,  and  an  oligar- 
chy of  the  worst,  for  the  representatives  of  the  State  sovereignties 
were  not  revocable  by  them.  What  would  become  of  the  House  of 
Representatives  if  the  whole  rays  of  Executive  influence  were  to  be 
concentrated  upon  it  2  It  would  be  consumed,  or,  like  a  diamond 
under  a  lens,  would  evaporate.  Nevertheless,  there  were  dull  speeches 
delivered  in  the  Houses  of  Parliament,  as  well  as  here.  Witness 
those  of  Mr.  Fuller,  or  of  Mr.  Drake.  This  was  one  of  those  cases 
in  which  the  maxim  de  mortuis  nil  nisi  bonum  did  not  hold.  He 
complained  of  the  growth  of  the  contingent  expenses  of  the  House. 


166  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

which  had  been  incurred  for  the  accommodation  of  the  members,  in  a 
profusion  of  stationery,  easy  arm-chairs,  and  a  mass  of  printed  docu- 
ments that  nobody  reads  !  These  accommodations,  like  those  at 
Banks,  did  no  good  to  those  who  made  use  of  them.  He  believed 
that  an  increased  ratio  would  be  one  of  the  means  of  getting  rid  of 
these  incumbrances." 

These  observations  are  worthy  of  most  serious  consideration.  In 
the  opinion  of  Mr.  Randolph,  an  enlargement  of  the  numbers  of  the 
House  of  Representatives  would,  in  the  end,  produce  an  economy  of 
expenditure  for  their  own  accommodation,  would  reduce  the  chances 
of  executive  influence,  give  a  more  immediate  and  responsible  repre- 
sentation to  the  people,  enlarge  the  field  of  political  interest  in  the 
country,  by  bringing  the  representative  and  the  represented  more 
closely  together,  would  lessen  the  propensity,  and  take  away  the  faci- 
lities for  sectional  combinations  and  partial  and  unconstitutional 
legislation,  more  effectually  call  forth  the  real  talent  and  patriotism 
of  the  House,  and  add  to  the  weight  and  respectability  of  the  States, 
which  are  the  only  opposing  forces  and  counterweights  to  the  strong 
centripetal  tendencies  of  the  Federal  Government.  These  are  results 
greatly  to  be  desired.  The  wisest  men  foresaw  the  dangers  of  too 
small  a  representation.  It  was  a  serious  objection  to  the  Constitu- 
tion. We  have  felt  the  evil  consequences  in  more  ways  than  one. 
Let  the  evil  be  remedied :  reduce  the  army  ;  reduce  the  navy ;  they 
have  almost  become  useless  in  our  vastly-extended  territory  and  com- 
manding position.  Build  no  more  fortifications  ;  build  no  more  ships 
but  steam-ships,  and  make  them  useful  as  mail-carriers  and  explorers 
of  unknown  regions.  Abolish  the  land  system  (which  is  expensive), 
and  sell  out  to  the  States  the  public  lands  within  their  respective 
borders.  Collect  no  more  revenue  than  is  needed  for  an  economical 
administration  of  the  government.  Increase  the  representatives  of 
the  people  in  Congress  ;  let  them  avoid  all  doubtful  questions ;  con- 
fine themselves  to  the  few  subjects  of  a  common  interest,  specifically 
delegated,  and  proceed  on  the  maxim,  that  a  "  wise  and  masterly  in- 
activity "  in  the  science  of  legislation,  as  well  as  in  the  practice  of  the 
healing  art,  is  the  truest  evidence  of  wisdom  and  prudence.  When 
these  things  are  done,  then  the  great  danger  so  much  apprehended 
by  our  fathers  need  no  longer  to  be  the  cause  of  uneasiness  to  their 
children,  and  we  may  go  on  adding  State  after  State  until  our  Fede- 
rative Union  shall  overspread  the  whole  continent.     The  truth  is. 


THE  APPORTIONMENT  BILL.  167 

the  addition  of  States  from  different  sections  of  widely-diversified  and 
opposing  interests  has  done  more  than  any  thing  else  to  bring  back 
the  action  of  the  government  to  its  legitimate  sphere,  by  diminishing 
the  chances  and  the  desire  of  sectional  combinations. 

Mr.  Randolph's  efforts  were  all  in  vain.  The  ratio  was  fixed  at 
40.000  On  the  6th  of  February,  by  means  of  the  previous  question, 
the  bill  was  carried  by  a  vote  of  nearly  two  to  one,  and  Virginia, 
henceforth,  had  to  take  her  rank,  in  numerical  strength  at  least,  as 
a  second  or  third-rate  State.  Mr.  Randolph  spoke  most  feelingly  on 
the  occasion. 

"  I  confess,"  said  he,  "  that  I  have  (and  I  am  not  ashamed  to  own 
it)  an  hereditary  attachment  to  the  State  that  gave  me  birth.  I  shall 
act  upon  it  as  long  as  I  act  upon  this  floor,  or  any  where  else.  I 
shall  feel  it  when  I  am  no  longer  capable  of  acting  any  where.  But 
I  beg  gentlemen  to  bear  in  mind,  if  we  feel  the  throes  and  agonies 
which  they  impute  to  us  at  the  sight  of  our  departing  power,  there  is 
something  in  fallen  greatness,  though  it  be  in  the  person  of  a  despot — 
something  to  enlist  the  passions  and  feelings  of  men,  even  against 
their  reason.  Bonaparte  himself  believed  he  had  those  who  sympa- 
thized with  him.  But  if  such  be  our  condition — if  we  are  really  so 
extremely  sensitive  on  this  subject — do  not  gentlemen  recollect  the 
application  of  another  received  maxim  in  regard  to  sudden,  I  will 
not  say  upstart,  elevation,  that  some  who  are  once  set  on  horseback, 
know  not.  nor  care  not,  which  way  they  ride  ?  I  am  a  man  of 
peace.  With  Bishop  Hall,  I  take  no  shame  to  myself  for  making 
overtures  of  pacification,  when  I  have  unwittingly  offended.  But, 
sir,  I  cannot  permit,  whatever  liberties  may  be  taken  with  me,  I  can- 
not permit  any  that  may  be  taken  with  the  State  of  Virginia  to  pass 
unnoticed  on  this  floor.  I  hope  the  notice  which  I  shall  always  take 
of  them  will  be  such  as  not  only  becomes  a  member  of  this  House, 
but  the  dignity  of  that  ancient  State." 

While  the  star  of  Virginia  was  in  the  ascendant,  and  her  do- 
minion was  acknowledged  by  all,  her  course  was  one  of  self-sacrifice. 
A  royal  domain  she  surrendered  as  a  peace-offering  to  the  Confede- 
ration ;  she  exhausted  her  own  resources  to  fill  the  common  treasury ; 
ever  careful  of  the  rights  of  others,  she  neglected  her  own,  and  stu- 
died more  the  common  welfare  than  her  private  interest.  No  statute 
can  rise  up  and  condemn  her  as  mean  or  selfish,  unjust  or  wasteful. 

Let  those  who  are  now  in  the  ascendant  go  and  do  likewise  ; 
above  all,  let  them  take  care  that  the  maxim  given  by  Mr.  Randolph 
as  a  warning,  prove  not  prophetic — "  that  some  who  "  (by  sudden  ele- 


') 


163  LIFE  0F  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

vation)  "  are  once   set  on  horseback,  know  not,  nor  care  not,  which 
way  they  ride." 

Next  day  after  the  passage  of  the  bill,  Mr.  Randolph  thus  writes 
to  his  friend  Brockenbrough. 

Washington,  Thursday,  4  o'clock  p.  m.,  Feb.  7,  1822. 
From  Dudley's  letter,  written  the  day  after  the  event,  I  had  an- 
ticipated the  cause  of  my  not  having  heard  from  you  within  the 
week.  My  good  friend,  "  neither  can  I  write,"  but  for  a  different 
reason.  I  am  now  down,  abraded.,  by  long-continued  stretch  of  mind 
and  feeling.  We  may  now  cry  out  "  Ichabod,"  for  our  glory  is  de- 
parted. I  made  last  night  my  final  effort  to  retrieve  our  fortunes, 
and  the  Virginia  delegation  (to  do  them  justice,  sensible  when  too 
late  of  their  error)  did  what  they  could  to  second  me.  I  do  them 
this  justice  with  pleasure,  if  there  was  one  I  did  not  note  the  excep- 
tion.    Had  they  supported  me  from  the  first,  we  could  have  carried 

38,000  or  38,500.     S e  of  W e  got  alarmed   at  my   earnest 

deprecation  of  the  conduct  of  the  majority,  of  which  he  was  one, 
and  came  to  me  repeatedly,  and  tried  to  retrace  his  steps.     So  did 
some  others  (i.  e.  "try  back  "),  but  the  mischief  had  gone  too  far  to 
be  remedied.     Our  fathers  have  eaten  grapes,  and  my  teeth,  at  least, 
are  set  on  edge.     I  am  sensible  that   I  have  spoken  too  much,  and 
perhaps  my  friends  at  a  distance  may  think  me  more  faulty  in  this 
respect  than  they  would  do,  had  they  been  on  the  spot— for  since  my 
first  (also  unpublished)  opposition  to  the  "Yazoo  "  bill,  I  have  never 
spoken  with  such  effect  upon  the   House,  as  on  Saturday  last :  and 
I  am  certain  by  their  profound  attention  last  night,  that  I  lost  no- 
thing even  with  them  that  divided  against  me,  at  least  the  far  greater 
part&of  them.  If  in  this  I  shall  find'  by  the  representation  of  others 
that  my  self-love  has  deceived  me,  I  will  be   more  than  ever  on  my 
guard  against  that   desperately    wicked  and  most    deceitful   of  all 
things,  my  own  heart.     I  pray  you,  therefore,  not  to  have  the  fear  of 
the  Archbishop  of  Grenada  before  your  eyes,  but  tell   me  truly,  if  I 
am  mistaken.      This  you  can  readily  learn  through  Mr.   Ritchie,  to 
whom  please  show  this  letter,  or  through  some  of  our  assembly  men, 
or  others,  who   have   correspondents  here.     I  do  not  want  to  know 
the  source  whence  your  information  comes  ;  nor  yet  am  I  setting  a 
clap-trap,  vain  as  I  am  (for  vanity  I  know  is  imputed  to  me  by  my 
enemies,  and  I   fear  (as  has  been   said)  that  they  come  nearer  the 
truth  of  one's  character  than  our  friends  do),  and  sweet  as  applause 
is.  (Dr.  South  says  of  the   seekers  of  praise,  that  they  search  for 
what  "flashes  for  a  moment  in  the  face  like  lightning,   and  perhaps 
says   he,  it  hurts  the  man.")     I  fish  for  no  opinion  on  the  character 
of'  my  endeavors  to  render  public  service,  except  as  regards  their 
too  frequent  repetition ;  it  is  rather  to  obtain  the  means  of  hereafter 
avoidiug  censure  that  this  request  is  made. 


DEPARTURE  FOR  EUROPE.  1(39 


CHAPTER     XIX. 

PINCEJSTEY,    MARSHALL,    TAZEWELL — DEPARTURE  FOR  EUROPE. 

Monday,  the  25th  of  February,  Mr.  Randolph  prematurely  an- 
nounced the  death  of  William  Pinckney,  a  Senator  from  Maryland, 
and  a  distinguished  jurist  and  orator.  He  had  obtained  the  infor- 
mation from  one  of  the  Judges  of  the  Supreme  Court,  who  came  in 
while  the  House  was  in  session,  and  gave  the  information  to  Mr.  Ran- 
dolph as  coming  from  a  gentleman  of  the  bar,  who  told  him  he  had 
seen  the  corpse.  Mr.  Randolph  immediately  rose  and  pronounced 
the  following  eulogy,  which,  considering  that  it  was  sudden  and  ex- 
temporaneous, is  unsurpassed  in  eloquence : 

He  arose  to  announce  to  the  House  the  death  of  a  man  who  filled 
the  first  place,  in  public  estimation,  in  the  first  profession  in  that  es- 
timation, in  this  or  any  other  country  : — 

"  We  have  been  talking,"  says  he,  "  of  General  Jackson,  and  a 
greater  man  than  he  is  not  here,  but  gone  for  ever !  I  allude,  sir,  to 
the  boast  of  Maryland  and  the  pride  of  the  United  States — the  pride 
of  us  all,  and  particularly  the  pride  and  ornament  of  that  profession 
of  which  you,  Mr.  Speaker  (Stephenson),  are  a  member,  and  an  emi- 
nent one.  He  was  a  man  with  whom  I  lived  when  a  member  of  this 
House,  and  a  new  one  too  ;  and  ever  since  he  left  it  for  the  other — I 
speak  it  with  pride — in  habits  not  merely  negatively  friendly,  but  of 
kindliness  and  cordiality.  The  last  time  I  saw  him  was  on  Saturday,  the 
last  Saturday  but  one,  in  the  pride  of  life  and  full  possession  and  vigor 
of  all  his  faculties,  in  that  lobby.  He  is  now  gone  to  his  account  (for 
as  the  tree  falls  so  it  must  lie),  where  we  must  all  go — where  I  must 
soon  go,  and  by  the  same  road,  too — the  course  of  nature  ;  and  where 
all  of  us,  put  off  the  evil  day  as  long  as  we  may,  must  also  soon  go. 
For  what  is  the  past  but  a  span  ;  and  which  of  us  can  look  forward  to 
as  many  years  as  we  have  lived  %  The  last  act  of  intercourse  between 
us  was  an  act,  the  recollection  of  which  I  would  not  be  without  for 
all  the  offices  that  all  the  men  of  the  United  States  have  filled  or  ever 
shall  fill.  He  had,  indeed,  his  faults,  his  foibles  ;  I  should  rather  say 
sins.  Who  is  without  them?  Let  such,  such  only,  cast  the  first 
stone.  And  these  foibles,  if  you  will,  which  every  body  could  see, 
because  every  body  is  clear-sighted  with  regard  to  the  faults  and  foi- 
bles of  others,  he,  I  have  no  doubt,  would  have  been  the  first  to  ac- 
knowledge, on  a  proper  representation  of  them.     Every  thing  now  is 

VOL.  II.  8 


170  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

hidden  from  us — not,  God  forbid,  that  utter  darkness  rests  upon  the 
grave,  which,  hideous  as  it  is,  is  lighted,  cheered,  and  warmed  with 
light  from  heaven ;  not  the  impious  fire  fabled  to  be  stolen  from 
heaven  by  the  heathen,  but  by  the  Spirit  of  the  living  God,  whom  we 
all  profess  to  worship,  and  whom  I  hope  we  shall  spend  the  remainder 
of  the  day  in  worshipping ;  not  with  mouth  honor,  but  in  our  hearts, 
in  spirit  and  in  truth  ;  that  it  may  not  be  said  of  us  also,  '  This  people 
draweth  nigh  unto  me  with  their  lips,  but  their  heart  is  far  from  me.' 
Yes,  it  is  just  so ;  he  is  gone.  I  will  not  say  that  our  loss  is  irrepar- 
able, because  such  a  man  as  has  existed  may  exist  again.  There  has 
been  a  Homer,  there  has  been  a  Shakspeare,  there  has  been  a  Mil- 
ton, there  has  been  a  Newton.  There  may  be  another  Pinckney,  but 
there  is  none  now.  And  it  was  to  announce  this  event  that  I  have 
risen.  I  am  almost  inclined  to  believe  in  presentiments.  I  have 
been  all  along,  as  well  assured  of  the  fatal  termination  of  that  disease 
with  which  he  was  afflicted  as  I  am  now ;  and  I  have  dragged  my 
weary  limbs  before  sunrise,  to  the  door  of  his  sick  chamber  (for  I 
would  not  intrude  on  the  sacred  grief  of  the  family),  almost  every 
morning  since  his  illness.     From  the  first,  I  had  almost  no  hope." 

In  these  early  and  pious  visitations  to  the  sick  chamber  of  virtue 
and  genius,  he  was  frequently  accompanied  by  the  Chief  Justice. 
What  a  beautiful  and  touching  tribute  to  the  memory  of  Pinckney, 
that  the  greatest  orator  and  statesman,  and  the  greatest  jurist  of  his 
age,  should  watch  with  so  much  interest  and  tenderness,  the  last  ex- 
piring breath  of  him  who  in  life  had  rivalled  the  one  in  eloquence  and 
the  other  in  profound  learning. 

Though  premature,  the  event  of  Mr.  Pinckney's  death  soon  fol- 
lowed the  announcement. 

"  Mr.  Pinckney  (says  Randolph  to  a  friend)  breathed  his  last 
about  12  o'clock  (midnight).  The  void  cannot  be  filled.  I  have  not 
slept,  on  an  average,  two  hours,  for  the  last  six  days.  I  have  been 
at  his  lodgings,  more  than  half  a  mile  west  of  mine,  every  day,  by 
sunrise — often  before — and  this  morning  before  daybreak.  I  heard 
from  him  last  night  at  ten,  and  sat  up  (which  I  have  not  done  before 
for  six  weeks)  until  the  very  hour  that  he  expired.  He  died  literally 
in  harness.  To  his  exertions  in  the  Dudley  cause,  and  his  hard  train- 
ing to  meet  Tazewell  in  the  cochineal  case,  as  'tis  called,  may  be  fairly 
ascribed  his  death.  The  void  will  never  be  filled  that  he  has  left. 
Tazewell  is  second  to  no  man  that  ever  breathed  ;  but  he  has  taken 
almost  as  much  pains  to  hide  his  light  under  a  bushel  as  P.  did  to 
set  his  on  a  hill.  He  and  the  Great  Lord  Chief  are  in  that 2mr-?wbi/e ; 
but  Tazewell,  in  point  of  reputation,  is  far  beyond  both  Pinckney  and 
Marshall." 


DEPARTURE  FOR  EUROPE.  171 

Saturday.  March  9th,  Mr.  Randolph  made  a  speech  of  two  hours, 
against  the  Bankrupt  bill.  Finding  by  a  vote,  to  strike  out  the  enact- 
ing clauses,  that  the  bill  would  pass  by  a  large  majority,  and  that 
being  the  only  remaining  subject  of  importance  before  the  House,  he 
obtained  leave  of  absence  on  Monday,  the  11th,  and  set  out  for  New- 
York,  to  embark  on  board  the  packet  ship  Amity,  for  Liverpool. 

From  '■  on  board  the  steamboat  Nautilus,  under  weigh  to  the 
Amity,  Saturday,  March  16,  1822,"  he  addressed  a  letter  to  his  con- 
stituents : — ■ 

"  My  friends,  for  such  indeed  you  have  proved  yourselves  to  be, 
through  good  and  through  evil  report,  I  throw  myself  on  your  indul- 
gence, to  which  I  have  never  yet  appealed  in  vain.  It  is  now  just 
five  years  since  the  state  of  my  health  reluctantly  compelled  me  to 
resist  your  solicitations  (backed  by  my  own  wishes)  to  offer  my  ser- 
vices to  your  suffrages.  The  recurrence  of  a  similar  calamity  obliges 
me  to  retire,  for  a  while,  from  the  field  of  duty. 

"  Should  the  mild  climate  of  France  and  the  change  of  air  restore 
my  health,  you  will  again  find  me  a  candidate  for  your  independent 
suffrages  at  the  next  election  (1823). 

"  I  have  an  especial  desire  to  be  in  that  Congress,  which  will  de- 
cide (probably  by  indirection)  the  character  of  the  executive  gov- 
ernment of  the  Confederation  for,  at  least,  four  years — perhaps  for 
ever  ;  since  now,  for  the  first  time  since  the  institution  of  this  gov- 
ernment, we  have  presented  to  the  people  the  army  candidate  for  the 
presidency,  in  the  person  of  him  who,  judging  from  present  appear- 
ance, will  receive  the  support  of  the  Bank  of  the  United  States  also. 
This  is  an  union  of  the  purse  and  sword,  with  a  vengeance — one 
which  even  the  sagacity  of  Patrick  Henry  never  anticipated,  in  this 
shape  at  least.  Let  the  people  look  to  it,  or  they  are  lost  for  ever. 
They  will  fall  into  that  gulf,  which,  under  the  artificial,  military,  and 
paper  systems  of  Europe,  divides  Dives  from  Lazarus,  and  grows 
daily  and  hourly  broader,  deeper,  and  more  appalling.  To  this  state 
of  things  we  are  rapidly  approaching,  under  an  administration,  the 
head  of  which  sits  an  incubus  upon  the  State,  while  the  lieutenants 
of  this  new  Mayor  of  the  palace  are  already  contending  for  the  suc- 
cession ;  and  their  retainers  and  adherents  are  with  difficulty  kept 
from  coming  to  blows,  even  on  the  floor  of  Congress.  We  are  arrived 
at  that  pitch  of  degeneracy  when  the  mere  lust  of  power,  the  reten- 
tion of  place  and  patronage,  can  prevail,  not  only  over  every  consid- 
eration of  public  duty,  but  stifle  the  suggestions  of  personal  honor, 
which  even  the  ministers  of  the  decayed  governments  of  Europe 
have  not  vet  learned  entirely  to  disregard." 


172  LIFE  0F  J0HN  RANDOLPH. 

From  the  same  steamboat,  Nautilus,  he  addressed  the  following 
note  to  Dr.  Brockenbrough. 

"  As  I  stepped  into  the  Nautilus,  a  large  packet  from  Washington, 
among  which  was  yours  inclosing  '  Uncle  Nat's'  letter,  was  put  into 
my  hands. 

"  The  '  Native  of  Virginia'  is  indiscreet  in  covering  too  much 
ground.  He  ought  to  have  darned  and  patched  old  Tom's  Mantle, 
and  fought  behind  it  as  a  Telemonian  shield. 

"  Add  to  my  P.  S.  in  the  address  to  my  constituents,  that  letters, 
via  New-York,  to  the  care  of  the  P.  Master,  will  reach  me.  My  ad- 
dress is,  care  of  John  &  Wm.  Gilliatt,  London,  until  further  notice. 
I  am  nearing  the  Amity.     Farewell !  farewell !" 


CHAPTEE    XX. 

THE   VOYAGE. 

After  the  Amity  had  gotten  fairly  under  way,  and  the  passengers 
somewhat  acquainted  with  each  other,  they  sought,  by  various  amuse- 
ments, to  relieve  the  tedium  of  their  voyage.  Whist  was  a  favorite 
game  on  board  ;  and  here  Mr.  Randolph  soon  proved  his  superiority 
as  a  player.  It  became  a  contest  each  night,  who  should  have  him  as 
a  partner,  and  finally  they  took  turns. 

I  observed,  one  morning,  says  Mr.  Jacob  Harvey,  of  New- York, 
to  whom  we  are  indebted  for  the  incidents  of  this  voyage,  that  Mr. 
Randolph  was  examining  a  very  large  box  of  books,  containing  enough 
to  keep  him  busy  reading  during  a  voyage  round  the  world.  I  asked 
him  why  he  had  brought  so  many  with  him?  "  I  want  to  have  them 
bound  in  England,  sir,"  replied  he.  ':  Bound  in  England !"  ex- 
claimed I,  laughing,  "  why  did  you  not  send  them  to  New-York  or 
Boston,  where  you  can  get  them  done  cheaper  ?" 

"  What,  sir,"  replied  he  sharply,  "  patronize  some  of  our  Yankee 
taskmasters  ;  those  patriotic  gentry,  who  have  caused  such  a  heavy 
duty  to  be  imposed  upon  foreign  books'?  Never,  sir,  never;  I  will 
neither  wear  what  they  make,  nor  eat  what  they  raise,  so  long  as  my 


THE  VOYAGE.  173 

tobacco  crop  will  enable  me  to  get  supplies  from  old  England  ;  and 
I  shall  employ  John  Bull  to  bind  my  books,  until  the  time  arrives 
when  they  can  be  properly  done  South  of  Mason  and  Dixon' 's  line  /" 
He  was  kind  enough  to  offer  me  the  use  of  them,  saying :  "  Take  my 
advice,  and  don't  read  any  of  the  novels  ;  and  when  you  get  home,  sir, 
tell  your  father  that  /  recommended  abstinence  from  novel  reading 
and  whisky  punch.  Depend  upon  it,  sir,  they  are  both  ecpually  in- 
jurious to  the  brain  /" 

His  favorite  author  was  Milton,  and  he  frequently  gave  us  read- 
ings from  "  Paradise  Lost,"  stopping  occasionally  to  point  out  the 
beauties  of  the  poem.  Young,  Thomson,  Johnson,  and  Southey,  did 
not  please  his  taste  ;  they  were,  he  said,  "  too  artificial."  But  his 
classification  of  modern  poems  was  very  original. 

"  Sir,  I  place  first  on  this  list,  Tom  Crib's  Memorial  to  Congress,  for 
its  great  wit  and  satire ;  next,  the  Two  Penny  Post  Boy,  for  similar 
excellencies  ;  and  third,  Childe  Harold's  Pilgrimage,  for  every  variety 
of  sentiment,  well  expressed.  But,  sir  (no  offence  to  Ireland),  I  can't 
go  Moore's  songs  ;  they  are  too  sentimental  by  half ;  all  ideal  and 
above  nature." 

Turning  over  his  books  one  day,  I  was  surprised  to  find  a  copy  of 
"  Fanny,"  Mr.  Halleck's  very  clever  satirical  poem,  which  had  been 
recently  published.  "  I  am  glad,"  said  I,  "  that  you  do  not  proscribe 
Yankee  poetry  as  well  as  Yankee  codfish." 

"  0  no,  sir,"  replied  he,  "  I  always  admire  talent,  no  matter  where 
it  comes  from ;  and  I  consider  this  little  work  as  the  best  specimen 
of  American  poetry  that  we  have  yet  seen.  I  am  proud  of  it,  sir ; 
and  I  mean  to  take  it  to  London  with  me,  and  to  present  it  to  that 
lady  whose  talents  and  conversation  I  shall  most  admire." 

I  may  mention  here,  although  somewhat  out  of  place,  that  when  we 
met  in  London  in  June  following,  I  suddenly  recollected  the  circum- 
stance, and  said  to  him :  "  By  the  way,  Mr.  Randolph,  to  whom  did 
you  present '  Fanny  V  " 

'•  To  your  countrywoman,  Miss  Edgeworth,  sir :  she  has  no  com- 
petitor in  my  estimation.     She  fairly  won  the  book,  sir." 

He  proposed,  one  fine  morning,  to  read  Fanny  to  me  aloud,  and 
on  deck,  where  we  were  enjoying  a  fine  breeze  and  noonday  sun.  It 
was  the  most  amusing  "  reading"  I  ever  listened  to.  The  notes  were 
much  longer  than  the  poem ;  for,  whenever  he  came  to  a  well-known 


174  LIFE  0F  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

name,  up  went  his  spectacles  and  down  went  the  hook,  and  he  branch- 
ed off  into  some  anecdote  of  the  person  or  of  his  family.  Thus  we 
"  progressed"  slowly  from  page  to  page,  and  it  actually  consumed 
three  mornings  before  we  reached — 

"  And  music  ceases  when  it  rains 
In  Scudder's  balcony." 

I  was  one  morning  looking  over  his  books  for  my  own  amusement, 
and  observed  that  several  of  the  prettiest  editions  were  marked 
«  This  for  Miss " 

"  How  is  this  ?"  said  I ;  "  some  fair  lady  seems  to  have  enchained 
you." 

"  Ah,"  replied  he,  "  if  you  only  knew  her,  the  sweetest  girl  in  the 
'  Ancient  Dominion,'  and  a  particular  favorite  of  mine,  sir ;  I  shall 
have  all  these  books  beautifully  bound  in  London,  sir,  fit  to  grace 
her  centre-table  on  my  return." 

I  took  up  one  of  them,  a  volume  of  old  plays,  and  after  reading 
a  few  pages,  exclaimed :  "  Surely  you  have  not  read  these  plays 
lately,  Mr.  Randolph,  or  you  would  not  present  this  book  to  Miss 
;  it  is  too  lascivious  for  her  eyes." 

He  immediately  ran  his  eye  over  the  page ;  then  took  the  book 
out  of  my  hands,  and  immediately  indorsed  on  the  back  "  not  fit  for 
Bet."     Then,  turning  to  me,  he  said  with  warmth  ; 

"You  have  done  me  an  infinite  service,  sir.  I  would  not  for 
worlds  do  aught  to  sully  the  purity  of  that  girl's  mind.  I  had  for- 
gotten those  plays,  sir,  or  they  would  not  have  found  a  place  in  my 
box.  I  abominate  as  much  as  you  do,  sir,  that  vile  style  of  writing 
which  is  intended  to  lessen  our  abhorrence  of  vice,  and  throw  ridi- 
cule on  virtuous  conduct.  You  have  given  me  the  hint,  sir.  Come, 
assist  me  in  looking  over  all  these  books,  lest  some  other  black  sheep 
may  have  found  its  way  into  the  flock." 

We  accordingly  went  through  the  whole  box,  but  found  no  other 
volume  deserving  of  condemnation,  much  to  Randolph's  satisfaction. 
He  then  presented  me  with  several  books,  as  keepsakes ;  and  lie 
wanted  to  add  several  more,  but  I  had  to  decline  positively.  His 
generosity  knew  no  bounds  ;  and  had  I  been  avaricious  of  mental 
food,  I  might  have  become  possessed  of  half  his  travelling  library. 
On  the  5th  of  April,  we  landed  about  noon.     The   wind  had 


THE  VOYAGE.  175 

changed  since  Randolph  predicted  that  we  would  strike  :  Sligo  Head,' 
and  we  first  saw  the  high  mountains  of  Donegal.  The  atmosphere 
was  beautifully  clear,  and  we  ran  along  the  coast  near  enough  to  see 
the  houses,  &c.     Towards  night  Randolph  said  to  me  : 

"  Well,  sir,  I  now  believe  the  anecdote  related  by  Arthur  Young. 
In  his  notes  on  Ireland  he  says,  that  one  day  a  farmer  took  his  son, 
a  young  boy,  some  distance  from  home,  in  the  county  Meath.  They 
came  to  a  tree  ;  the  boy  was  astonished,  stopped,  and  asked,  '  Father, 
what  is  that?'  never  having  seen  one  before.  Here  have  we  been 
sailing  along  the  Irish  coast  for  a  whole  day,  and  not  a  single  tree 
have  I  yet  seen  !" 

It  was  too  true.  Barren  are  the  mountains  of  Donegal,  no  trees 
are  to  be  seen  ;  and  it  is  no  wonder  that  an  American  should  be 
struck  with  astonishment,  just  arriving  from  his  own  well-wooded 
shores. 

The  moon  was  shining  brightly  when  we  came  up  with  the  island 
of  "  Rathlin."  or  "  Raghery ;"  but  the  tide  ran  so  strongly  against  us 
we  passed  it  very  slowly,  notwithstanding  we  had  a  stiff  breeze  in  our 
favor.     As  Mr.  Randolph  gazed  upon  its  rugged  shore,  he  said  : 

"  That  island  I  have  wished  much  to  see,  sir.  I  suppose  that 
you  are  aware  that  its  inhabitants  are  a  most  peculiar  race.  They 
look  down  with  contempt  upon  the  '  Continent]  as  they  call  Ireland 
(only  three  miles  distant) ;  and  the  greatest  curse  known  to  them  is, 
'  May  Ireland  be  your  latter  end.'  They  have  their  own  laws  and 
usages  :  intermarrying  among  themselves ;  pay  great  deference  to 
their  landlord  and  priest;  smuggle  a  little  for  an  homst  livelihood; 
and  the  severest  punishment  practised  among  them  is,  banishment  to 
Ireland  /" 

Next  day  we  ran  down  the  Channel,  passing  and  meeting  hun- 
dreds of  vessels,  from  the  stately  Indiaman  to  the  small  fishing- 
smack.  The  American  vessels  were  easily  discovered  from  the  Brit- 
ish, by  their  white  canvas,  bright  sides,  and  sharp  bows.  It  was  a 
very  exciting  scene,  and  Randolph  was  in  fine  spirits.  The  sight  of 
Old  England  brought  back  the  "  olden  time  "  to  his  memory,  and  he 
shed  tears  of  delight. 

"Thank  God:;  exclaimed  he,  "that  I  have  lived  to  behold  the 
land  of  Shakspeare,  of  Milton,  of  my  forefathers  !  May  her  greatness 
increase  through  all  time  !" 


176  LIFE  0F  J0HN  RANDOLPH. 

It  was  past  eleven  o'clock  at  night  when  we  reached  the  dock,  and 
we  remained  on  board  till  next  morning.  Before  parting,  Randolph 
said  to  me,  "  I  do  not  wish  you  to  tell  any  one  that  I  am  here.  I  do 
not  covet  any  attentions,  at  present,  sir.  I  have  come  to  England 
to  see,  and  not  to  be  seen;  to  hear,  and  not  to  be  heard.  I  don't 
want  to  he  made  a  lion  of,  sir.  You  understand  me.  I  have  formed 
a  friendship  for  you,  which  I  hope  will  be  continued,  sir  ;  and  when 
you  come  to  London,  you  must  instantly  inform  me  of  your  arrival ; 
there  is  my  address,  sir.  God  bless  you  ;  and  remember  you  tell 
your  father  not  to  give  you  whisky  punch  or  novels." 

London,  May  27th,  1822.  Monday. 
My  Dear  Bet  :  On  Saturday  I  had  the  pleasure  to  receive  your 
letter  of  the  10th  of  last  month ;  and  a  great  one  it  was  ;  for,  altho' 
I  took  somewhat  of  a  French  leave  of  you,  I  do  assure  you,  my  dear, 
that  "  my  thoughts,  too,  were  with  you  on  the  ocean."  Among  my 
treasures  I  brought  a  packet,  containing  all  the  letters  I  have  ever 
received  from  you  ;  and  the  reading  over  these,  and  talking  of  you  to 
a  young  Irish  gentleman,  whose  acquaintance  I  happened  to  make 
on  board  the  steamboat,  was  the  chief  solace  of  my  voyage.  It  was  a 
short  one,  although  a  part  of  it  was  somewhat  boisterous,  and  the 
press  of  sail  carried  by  our  ships  (the  packets  more  especially),  when 
those  of  other  nations  are  under  reefed  and  double-reefed  topsails, 
exposes  them  to  greater  danger,  while  it  shortens  their  voyage ;  and 
yet,  such  is  the  skill  of  our  seamen,  that  insurance  is  no  higher  upon 
our  bottoms  than  upon  European  ones.  Indeed,  our  voyages  remind- 
ed me  of  our  tobacco  crop.  You  see  I  can't  "  sink  the  tailor."  The 
vessel  is  out  so  short  a  time  that  she  avoids  many  dangers  to  which 
dull  sailers  are  exposed. 

We  made  the  coast  of  Ireland  at  noon  on  Good  Friday,  and  at 
twelve  on  the  following  night  we  were  safe  in  the  Regent's  Dock,  in 
Liverpool.  When  you  consider  that  we  had  to  come  the  North  Pas- 
sage (that  is,  between  the  coast  of  Ireland  and  Scotland),  and  crooked 
as  our  path  was,  to  go  out  of  our  way  to  Holyhead  for  a  pilot,  it  was 
an  astonishing  run.  The  first  land  we  made  in  Ireland  was  Runar- 
dallah  (liquid  n.  as  in  Spanish),  or  the  Bloody  Foreland,  bearing  on 
our  lee  (starboard),  bore  S.  S.  E.  G  leagues — an  ominous  name.  Fal- 
coner's beautiful  poem,  The  Shipwreck,  will  render  you  mistress  of 
the  sea-phrases.  The  coast  of  Donegal,  far  as  the  eye  can  reach,  is 
lonely,  desolate,  and  naked ;  not  a  tree  to  be  seen,  and  a  single  Mar- 
tello  tower  the  only  evidence  that  it  was  the  dwelling-place  of  man. 
Not  even  a  sail  was  in  sight ;  and  I  felt  a  sensation  of  sadness  and 
desolation,  for  we  seemed  more  forsaken  and  abandoned  than  when 
surrounded  only  by  the  world  of  waters.     This  is  the  coast  to  which 


THE  VOYAGE.  177 

our  honest  American  (naturalized)  merchants  smuggle  tobacco,  when 
piracy  under  Arligan  colors  or  the  slave-trade  is  dull.  Tory  island 
rises  like  the  ruins  of  some  gigantic  castle,  out  of  the  sea.  I  presume 
that  it  is  basaltic,  like  the  Giant's  Causeway,  of  which  we  could  not  get 
a  distinct  view  ;  but  Fairhead  amply  compensated  us.  I  must  not  for- 
get, however,  the  beautiful  revolving  light  of  Ennistra  Hull,  which 
at  regular  intervals  of  time  broke  upon  us  like  a  brilliant  meteor,  and 
then  died  away;  while  that  on  the  Mull  of  Contire  (mistaken  by  our 
captain,  who  had  never  gone  the  North  Passage  before,  for  Rachlin, 
or  Rahery,  as  the  Irish  call  it)  was  barely  visible.  It  is  a  fixed  light, 
and  a  very  bad  one.  After  passing  Fairhead,  I  "  turned  in,"  and  was 
called  up  at  dawn  to  see  Ailsa  Craig,  which  our  captain  maintained 
would  be  too  far  distant  to  be  seen  in  our  course,  while  I  as  stoutly  de- 
clared we  must  see  it  if  we  had  light.  And  here,  by  the  way,  my 
dear,  I  found  my  knowledge  of  geography  always  gave  me  the  advan- 
tage over  my  companions,  and  rendered  every  object  doubly  interest- 
ing. The  Irish  Channel  swarmed  with  shipping,  and  as  we  "  near- 
ed;'  the  Isle  of  Man,  and  her  Calf,  I  looked  out  for  Dirck  Hatteraick 
and  his  lugger.  We  hugged  the  Irish  shore — Port  Patrick,  a  nice 
little  white  town  on  our  right ;  but  the  green  hills  of  Erin  were  as 
'•  brown  as  a  berry."  When  we  came  in  sight  of  the  entrance  into 
Strangford  Lock,  I  longed  to  go  ashore  and  see  Mrs.  Cunningham,  at 
Dundrum.  Tell  this  to  my  friend  Ed.  C,  and  give  my  love  to  Mrs. 
Ariana,  and  the  whole  firm.  Holyhead  is  a  fine  object ;  so  is  the 
Isle  of  Anglesea.  At  the  first  glance  I  recognized  the  Parry's  Mine 
mountain,  with  Lord  Grosvenor's  copper  treasures ;  and  Gray's  Bard 
rushed  into  my  mind  at  the  sight  of  the  Carnarvonshire  hills,  with 
Snowdon  overtopping  them  all — still,  not  a  tree  to  be  seen.  The  fields 
of  Man  are  divided  by  stone  "  march-dykes,"  and  the  houses  are 
without  shade,  or  shelter  from  the  bleak  easterly  winds.  The  float- 
ing light  off  Hoyle-sands,  which  we  passed  with  the  speed  of  a  race- 
horse— a  strong  current  and  stiff  breeze  in  our  favor — was  a  most 
striking  object.  One  view  of  it  represented  a  clergyman  preaching 
by  candlelight,  the  centre  light  being  the  head  ;  and  the  two  others 
gave  a  lively  picture  of  impassioned  gesture  of  the  arms,  as  they 
were  tossed  up  and  down. 

Although  our  pilot,  and  the  captain  too,  declared  the  thing  to  be 
impossible,  we  did  get  "  round  the  rock,"  and  passing  a  forest  of 
masts  in  the  Mersey,  were  safely  moored  at  quarter-past  twelve,  in 
the  dock,  where  ships  are  put  away  under  lock  and  key,  like  books  in 
a  book-case. 

After  a  very  sound  and  refreshing  sleep,  I  rose  and  went  ashore, 
in  search  of  breakfast — for  not  a  spark  of  fire,  not  even  a  candle  or 
lamp,  can  be  brought  into  the  dock,  on  any  pretext  whatsoever.  At 
the  landward  gate  I  stopped,  expecting  to  be  searched,  but  the  guard 

vol.  11.  8* 


178  LIFE  0F  J0HN  RANDOLPH. 

did  not  even  make  Lis  appearance ;  so  on  I  passed  with  little  Jem,  a 
wicked  dog  of  a  cabin-boy,  carrying  my  bundle,  to  the  King's  Arms, 
in  Castle  street ;  but  I  had  hardly  commenced  my  breakfast,  when 
the  femme  d'affaires,  in  the  person  of  a  strapping  Welsh  wench,  who 
had  tried  before  to  put  me  up  two  pair  of  stairs,  entered  the  room, 
and  with  well  dissembled  dismay  "  begged  my  pardon,  but  the  room  was 
engaged  (it  was  the  best  in  the  house)  for  the  Lord  Bishop  of  the  Isle 
of  Man,  and  the — the — the  Dean  of — of  Canterbury."  Here  again  my 
knowledge  of  England,  to  say  nothing  of  innkeepers,  stood  me  in  good 
stead.  I  coolly  replied  that  they  would  hardly  arrive  before  1  had 
finished  breakfast,  and  requested  to  see  her  master  or  mistress,  as  the 
case  might  be.  "  Mrs.  Jones  was  sick,"  but  her  niece  would  wait  on 
me.  She  came  in  the  person  of  a  pretty  young  married  woman  ;  and 
now  the  tale  varied  to  "  the  room  being  engaged  for  a  family  daily  ex- 
pected." "  The  name?"  "  The  name  had  not  been  given — was  very 
sorry  for  the  mistake,"  &c.  "  Mistakes,  madam,  must  be  rectified  ; 
as  soon  as  this  nameless  family  arrives,  I  will  make  my  bow  and  give 
up  the  parlor."  "  Very  handsome,  and  very  genteel,  and  a  thousand 
thanks" — and  a  courtesy  at  every  word.  Next  day,  the  arrival  of  a 
regiment  from  Ireland  unlocked  the  whole  mystery.  The  room  was 
wanted  for  the  officers.  And  here,  my  dear,  I  am  sorry  to  say  that, 
except  by  cross-examination,  I  have  not  obtained  a  word  of  truth 
from  any  of  the  lower  orders  in  this  country.  I  think  that  in  this 
respect,  as  well  as  in  honesty,  our  slaves  greatly  excel  them.  In  ur- 
banity they  are  also  far  superior.  Now,  don't  you  tell  this  to  any 
body — not  even  to  your  father — but  keep  the  fact  to  yourself,  for  a 
reason  that  I  will  communicate  to  you  when  I  see  you ;  and  a  very 
important  one  it  is. 

After  receiving  every  civility  from  the  collector,  Mr.  Swainson, 
and  from  my  countrymen,  Mr.  James  King,  Mr.  Maury,  and  Mr. 
Haggerty,  and  seeing  the  docks,  and  the  Islington  market,  I  was  im- 
patient to  leave  Liverpool,  which  bears  the  impress  of  trade  upon  it, 
and  is,  of  course,  as  dull  as  dull  can  be.  The  market  is  of  new  erec- 
tion, and  I  believe  altogether  unique — far  surpassing  even  that  of 
Philadelphia,  not  only  in  the  arrangement  (which  is  that  of  a  square, 
roofed,  well  lighted,  and  unencumbered  with  carts,  and  unannoyed 
by  a  public  street  on  each  side  of  it),  but  in  the  variety  and  delicacy 
of  its  provisions.  Here,  for  the  first  time,  I  saw  a  turbot,  and  Mr. 
King  bought  half  a  one  for  our  dinner,  for  which  he  paid  half  a 
guinea.  The  variety  and  profesion  of  the  vegetables,  and  the  neat, 
rosy-cheeked  "  Lancashire  witches,"  that  sprinkled  them  with  water 
to  keep  them  fresh,  who  were  critically  clean  in  their  dress  and  per- 
sons, was  a  most  delightful  spectacle.  Whatever  you  buy  is  taken 
home  for  you  by  women  whose  vocation  it  is ;  and  Mr.  King's  house 
is  two  miles  off,  at  the  beautiful  village  of  Everton.  commanding  a 


THE  VOYAGE.  ]_79 

fine  view  of  the  Mersey  and  the  opposite  coast  of  Cheshire.  For  a 
full  account  of  Liverpool,  see  its  '•  Picture,"  at  Roanoke,  where  you 
will  find,  if  you  have  them  not,  the  other  books  referred  to  in  this  let- 
ter, and  I  shall  write,  by  this  packet,  to  Leigh,  to  send  them  to  you. 
The  packets  sail  with  the  punctuality  of  stage-coaches,  and  arrive  al- 
most as  regularly.  The  Albion  formed  the  first  and  most  melan- 
cholly  exception.  We  were  long  kept  in  painful  suspense  respecting 
the  names  of  the  passengers.  I  was  afraid  that  my  unfortunate 
friend  Tuboeuf  was  one  of  the  "five  Frenchmen."  The  Mr.  Clark, 
and  lady,  I  take  for  granted  is  an  old  acquaintance,  George  Clark,  of 
Albany,  son  of  a  former  royal  governor  of  New- York,  and  a  man  of 
very  large  estate,  returning  with  his  wife  to  England,  after  fifteen  or 
twenty  years'  absence.  Dupont  may  be  another  very  old  acquaint- 
ance, whom  I  knew  thirty-four  years  ago  in  New-York,  and  saw  in 
Charleston  in    1796,  and  a  few  months  ago   in   Washington.     His 

name  is  Victor  Dupont,  son  of  D de  Nemours,  and  brother  of 

Irenee  D.  They  have  a  large  powder  and  woollen  manufactory  on 
the  Brandywine,  in  Delaware.  Tuboeuf.  I  see,  had  not  left  the  U.  S. 
Both  he  and  Dupont  told  me  they  were  about  to  cross  the  Atlantic. 
The  history  of  the  former  is  the  "  romance  of  real  life."  In  educa- 
tion and  feeling,  he  is  more  than  half  a  Virginian.  His  father  was 
killed  by  the  Indians  when  he  was  a  child,  and  he  knows  the  rifle, 
hunting-shirt,  and  moccasons.  His  father  was  the  friend  of  my  near 
and  dear  relative,  Jack  Banister,  of  Battersea.  When  Tuboeuf  l'aine 
arrived  at  City  Point  he  found  his  young  friend  had  been  dead  sev- 
eral years.  This  connection  determined  him  to  Virginia,  and  he  went 
out  to  the  Holston  country,  where  he  was  killed,  and  where  the  son 
lived  until  manhood.     But  I  shall  never  get  off  from  Liverpool. 

On  Wednesday  morning,  April  10th,  I  set  out  alone,  in  a  post- 
chaise  ;  and  now  you  must  take  an  extract  from  my  "  log-book." 

Verdure  beautiful ;  moss  on  youngest  trees  shows  dampness  of 
climate.  Dr.  Solomon  and  Gilead  House.  The  Doctor  dead,  but 
quackery  is  immortal.  Highfield,  the  seat  of  Mrs.  Parke,  on  the 
right ;  very  fine  object.  Around  Liverpool,  in  their  fine  pastures,  I 
saw  the  most  wretched  looking  horses,  and  even  cows — not  a  good 
horse  in  the  town.  To  Prescot,  with  a  fine  view  of  Kuowsley  Park, 
and  a  glimpse  of  the  house.  Legs  of  Man.  (the  arms  of  the  Isle  of 
Man  are  three  legs,  and  the  Stanleys,  Earls  of  Derby,  were  lords  of 
Man,  as  Shakspeare  will  tell  you,  Hen.  VI.)  The  park-keeper  in  the 
kitchen — send  for  him  and  talk  about  the  horses  ;  all  in  training  on 
Delamere  forest,  except  old  Milo  and  one  other.  The  Earl  and  Count- 
ess in  town,  (this  always  means  London  narcgoxriv.  Mr.  G.  will  deci- 
pher and  translate  my  Greek  for  you.)  So  is  Lord  Stanley,  the 
Earl's  eldest  son,  who  represents  the  county  in  Parliament.  Cross 
the  Sankey  canal,  the  first  executed  in  England.     Soon  after,  pass 


180  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

under  the  Bridgewater  canal.  To  Warrington,  Nag's  Head  ;  cross 
the  Mersey,  and  enter  Cheshire.  At  High  Leigh,  West  Hall,  Eger- 
ton  Leigh,  Esq.,  (the  road-book  falsely  places  this  seat  beyond  Knuts- 
ford),  and  High  Leigh  (or  East)  Hall,  Geo.  Leigh,  Esq.  See  Debrett's 
Baronetage.  At  Mere,  which,  as  the  name  imports,  is  a  beautiful 
sheet  of  natural  water,  too  small  to  be  dignified  with  the  name  of 
lake,  but  large  enough  to  be  quite  rough  with  the  wind,  I  came  to 
the  first  descent  that  could  be  called  a  hill ;  for  although  hills  and 
mountains  too  were  in  sight  all  around  me,  the  roads  are  conducted 
on  a  level.  On  the  right  is  Mere  Hall,  Peter  L.  Brooke,  Esq.,  a  fine 
seat.  I  ought  to  mention  that  all  the  seats  are  embosomed  in  fine 
woods.  There  were  some  noble  pines  at  High  Leigh,  which  a  Vir- 
ginian overseer  would  soon  have  down  for  tobacco  sticks.  The  houses 
of  the  poorest  people  are  adorned  with  honeysuckles,  and  have  flower 
pots  in  the  windows,  with  geraniums,  &c.  Dear  Mrs.  Bell,  I  thought 
of  her  at  every  step ;  and,  by  the  way,  Mr.  G.  writes  that  she  was  in 
Richmond  on  the  26th,  and  well,  although  he  does  not  say  a  word  of 
a  certain  E.  T.  C,  or,  indeed,  any  body  else  but  the  Brockenbro's, 
and  to  them  he  allows  not  quite  a  line.  His  letter  of  a  page  and  a 
half  is  most  provokingly  concise.  What  there  is  of  it  is  horribly 
stuffed  with  epithets  of  war,  and  what  not,  about  ';  Fox,  and  Burke, 
and  Pitt,  and  Brutus,  and  Cassius.  and  Junius,  and  Rome  ;"  descend- 
ing by  regular  anti-climax  to  "  Russia,  and  Poletica,  and  Adams." 
Pray  tell  him  from  me,  that  I  could  hardly  have  expected  much 
worse  even  from  Mr.  Walsh,  if  I  had  the  misfortime  to  be  afflicted 
with  his  correspondence.  And  I  had  rather  have  heard  of  old  Aggy 
than  all  those  fine  ancients  and  would-be-fine  moderns.  Now,  this  from 
Frank  G.,  who  can  write  so  well,  and  so  much  to  the  purpose,  is  too 
bad.  I  assure  you,  reading  the  result  of  the  election  of  Ned  Maj'o,  in 
Henrico,  was  more  interesting. 

Before  reaching  Knutsford,  I  travelled  along  the  huge,  high  wall 
of  Tatton  Park,  twelve  miles  in  circumference.  It  extends  to  the 
very  town.  Dine  at  Knutsford,  and  drive  into  the  park  ;  superb  do- 
main ;  fine  sheet  of  water  on  the  right,  with  a  view  of  the  Lancashire 
hills,  about  Worsley.  For  the  sixth  time  to-day  it  snowed.  Re- 
turned, and  struck  off  from  the  London  road,  to  Northwich,  to  see 
the  mines  of  fossil  salt. 

On  the  right  of  Northwich  is  the  seat,  and  a  very  fine  one  it  is, 
of  Sir  John  Stanley,  who  married  the  eldest  daughter  of  Gibbon's 
friend,  Lord  Sheffield.  I  felt  when  I  saw  him  at  Chester,  as  if  he 
was  an  old  acquaintance.  He  was  foreman  of  the  grand  jury,  and 
had  his  hands  full  of  business,  for  there  were  seventy  felons  against 
whom  bills  were  preferred.  I  breakfasted  at  a  small  inn,  at  Sandy- 
way  head,  having  passed  through  a  road  of  heavy  and  deep  sand, 
with  considerable  hills.     But   before  reaching  S.   H.,  I  made  the 


THE  VOYAGE.  131 

postillion  drive  through  Vale  Royal  Park,  the  proprietor  of  which, 
Thomas  Cholniondeley,  Esq.,  is  one  of  the  new  coronation  peers,  by 
the  title  of  Lord  Delamere.  With  the  names  and  proprietors  of  all 
these  places  I  was  as  familiarly  acquainted  as  if  I  had  lived  all  my 
life  in  the  palatinate.  Nothing  can  be  more  beautiful  than  these 
parks.  Here  I  saw  that  rara  avis  (rare  bird)  the  black  swan,  in 
company  with  white  ones.  I  drove  about  two  miles  and  a  half  before 
I  reached  the  house,  when  I  caused  the  postillion  to  return.  There 
was  no  fear  of  disturbing  the  family,  although  his  lordship  had  re- 
turned from  town  the  day  preceding,  for  it  was  only  six  o'clock,  and 
the  great  in  Eugland  seldom  leave  their  beds  before  noon.  The 
whole  establishment,  although  not  so  great  as  Tatton,  is  princely.  I 
told  the  keepers  of  the  lodges,  who  were  very  grateful  for  their  shil- 
lings, to  tell  Lord  D.,  if  he  asked,  that  a  foreign  gentleman  travelling 
for  his  health  had  taken  the  liberty  to  drive  through  his  beautiful 
grounds.  Over  Delamere  forest,  a  rough,  barren  tract,  for  eight 
miles.  Very  likely  government  have  inclosed  and  planted  it,  for  the 
"  forest"  contained  not  a  tree  or  shrub ;  and  individuals  also  have 
done  much  in  this  way.  At  present  the  trees  are  almost  knee  high. 
At  Kelsah  we  leave  the  forest  and  emerge  into  the  rich  pastures  and 
meadows  of  Cheshire.  To  Chester — the  Albion  hotel ;  drive  to 
Eaton  Hall,  Lord  Grosvenor's ;  return — dine ;  misconduct  of  inn- 
keeper, who  put  me  into  his  own  filthy  bed-chamber ;  (town  full,  it 
being  assize  time).  Remove  to  the  Royal  hotel ;  visit  the  cathedral, 
"  and  let  my  due  feet  never  fail  to  walk  the  studious  cloisters  pale," 
&c.  At  every  turn  since  I  came  from  Liverpool,  I  have  been  break- 
ing out  into  quotations  from  Milton  and  Shakspeare.  Bad  Latin  in 
a  bishop  ;  epitaph  ;  and  worse  scholars  in  the  Royal  School.  None 
of  the  boys  could  give  the  Latin  of  their  coronation  banner,  and  I 
offered  half  a  guinea  to  him  who  would  complete  the  following  lines  : 
"  Vir  bonus  est  quis  ?  Qui  consulta  patruum,  qui," — and  translate 
them.  Only  one  boy  could  supply  "  leges  juraque  servat,"  and  he  be- 
gan "  Vir  bonus  est  quis" — "  He  is  a  good  man" — so  I  took  up  my 
half  guinea  and  walked  out,  thinking  of  Mr.  Brougham  and  his  bill. 
To  the  Castle — here  two  boys  arraigned  for  robbery. 

Saturday — through  Eaton  Park  ;  see  the  horses  and  grounds,  and 
pheasants,  and  hares,  and  deer,  and  stables — in  comparison  with 
which  last,  the  finest  house  I  ever  saw  in  America  is  a  mere  hovel. 
(I  except  the  public  buildings  at  Washington,  and  the  Bank  of  Penn- 
sylvania.) To  Wrexham,  in  Wales,  which  principality  I  entered  six 
miles  from  Chester.  Near  W.,  on  the  left,  is  a  magnificent  entrance 
into  Acton  Park,  Sir  Foster  Cunliffe's,  with  greyhounds,  in  stone,  on 
the  gates.  Cross  the  Dee,  to  Overton,  eight  miles.  The  beauty  of 
this  country  throws  all  that  I  have  seen  before  or  since  into  the 
shade.     Nothing  can  be  imagined  finer.     The  village  of  Overton  is  a 


182  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

perfect  paradise,  and  the  vale  of  Dee  is  more  like  fairy-land  than  real 
earth  and  water.  Mr.  Price's  seat,  at  Bryxypys,  surpasses  all  I  have 
seen  yet.  To  Ellesmere — Bridgewater  arms.  The  Earl  of  B.  has  a 
great  estate  here.  The  mere  very  beautiful.  Dine,  and  go  on  to 
Shrewsbury.  Country  changes,  and  becomes  comparatively  ugly. 
To  the  Lion  mn,  at  Shrewsbury.  Sunday — drive  through  a  lovely 
country,  to  Battlefield  church,  five  miles,  on  the  very  site  of  the  bat- 
tle ground  where  Harry  Percy's  spur  became  cold ;  mound  of  the 
slain.  Parish  clerk  and  wife  true  English  cottagers.  Sunday  school 
of  clean,  fine  children.  Bev.  Mr.  Williams,  of  Battlefield,  preaches 
to  a  congregation  of  rustics  a  truly  evangelical  sermon.  Church  per- 
fectly clean  ;  rush  mats  to  kneel  on.  How  different  from  Chester 
cathedral.  Only  equipage  a  single  "taxed  cart."  Mr.  Williams 
preached  at  Effington  in  the  evening.  Returned  the  same  road  to 
Shrewsbury ;  ascended  Lord  Hill's  column — most  heavenly  view. 
Remember  that  I  am  now  on  the  Severn,  and  turn  to  Gray's  Letters. 
Leave  the  Lion,  and  my  friend  Bourne,  the  head  waiter,  and  the 
truly  respectable  landlady,  with  regret  I  hope  on  all  sides,  and  go  on, 
with  sleek,  fine  horses,  and  clean  chaise,  and  obliging  driver,  to  Iron- 
bridge,  thirteen  miles,  where  I  changed  chaise  and  horses,  and  cross- 
ing the  Severn  a  second  time,  over  the  bridge  of  one  arch,  ascended 
a  mountainous  hill  on  the  other  side,  through  Madely  market.  These 
are  the  greatest  iron  works  (Colebrooke  Dale)  in  England.  To 
Bridgeworth,  seven  miles,  to  sup  and  sleep.  This  town  pleases  me 
more  than  any  I  have  seen  before  or  since.  It  is  old,  clean,  pleasant, 
romantic,  with  no  commercial,  manufacturing,  or  fashionable  taint 
about  it.     Cheltenham  sickened  me  of  the  last. 

Monday,  15th — wound  round  the  high  hill  of  red  stone  ;  stopped  ; 
ascended  to  the  ruin  of  the  castle  and  the  church  ;  ludicrous  epitaph  : 
returned  to  the  chaise,  and  completed  our  descent  to  the  Severn,  •'  the 
very  principal  light  and  capital  feature  of  my  journey,"  which  I  again 
crossed.  Stopped  at  a  small  house  of  call  to  beg  an  idle  pin.  Old 
man  and  wife  show  me  their  cows ;  their  tenderness  to  the  mother- 
less lamb,  and  pity  of  me.  Their  gratitude  to  their  cow,  which,  said 
the  dame,  "  when  my  house  was  burnt,  maintained  our  whole  family, 
old  and  unsightly  as  she  looks,  but  making  me  pounds  of  butter 
a  week."     Caetera  desunt. 

Monday,  past  12,  May  27,  1822. 
Mv  dear  Bet, — When,  a  few  minutes  ago,  I  wrote  "  cetera 
desunt,"  as  I  folded  my  letter  which  young  Mr.  Hammond  waited 
to  the  last  minute  to  take  to  Liverpool,  I  did  not  know  that  the  be- 
ginning, as  well  as  the  conclusion,  was  wanting.  I  now  inclose  it  to 
Mr.  H.,  with  a  request  that  he  will  put  the  two  under  one  cover,  and 
address  it  to  your  father — as  he  promised  to  do  with  the  first — for  it 


THE  VOYAGE. 


183 


was  to  avoid  exposing  your  name  to  strangers,  that  I  got  him  to  take 
the  letter.  He  carries  a  map  of  the  city,  in  which  the  new  improve- 
ments are  laid  down  ;  with  this,  and  the  Ambulator,  and  the  Pictures 
of  London  (all  at  Roanoke),  and  Smith's  English  Atlas  (also  there), 
you  can  travel  with  me  without  once  mistaking  your  way,  and,  I  hope' 
pleasantly,  as  well  as  easily. 

I   left  the  old  farmer  (Evans)  and  his  dame  (for  he  has  a  small 
farm  under   Mr.  Whittemore,  member  for  the  borough  of  Bridge- 
north),  as  well  as  his  ale-house.     I  left  the  old  couple  fondling  their 
lamb,  and  caressing  it  and  their  kine — one  a  Hereford  red,  with  a 
fine  calf,  which  they  had  been  debating  about  selling  to  the  butcher ; 
but  at  last  their  aifections  got  the  better  of  their  poverty,  and  the  old 
man  concluded,  by  saying,  it  would  be  a  pity  to  kill  the  poor  thing, 
and  he  would  e'en  keep  it  for  the  mother's  sake.    Although  I  stopped 
for  a  pin  to  fasten  up  the  envious  curtain  behind  the  chaise,  yet  I  asked 
for  a  draught  of  milk,  warm  from  the  favorite  cow,  which  was  given 
to  me  in  a  clean  porringer,  with  a  face  of  as   true  benevolence  as  I 
ever  saw.     On  taking  leave,  I  asked  to  contribute  towards  the  re- 
building of  the   burnt  house,  telling  them  it  was  the  custom  in  the 
country  I  came  from.     But  the  old  man,  with  a  face  of  great  surprise, 
said,  "  I  was  kindly  welcome  to  the  milk ;  it  was  a  thing  of  nothing  ;" 
and  they  both  rejected  the  money  (only  two  half-crowns),  until  I  told 
them  they  must  oblige  me  by  accepting  it,  or  I  should  be  ashamed 
of  having  such  a  trifle  returned.     Whereupon  the  gude  man  said  he 
would  give  the  postillion  with  the  return  chaise  a  skinful  of  his  best 
ale,  when  he  came  back ;  and  the  dame,  ascribing  her  good  fortune 
to  the  mercy  shown  to  the  calf,  promised,  at  my  recpiest,  to  remember 
me,  in  her  prayers,  as  the  sick  stranger  to  whom  she  had  ministered  ; 
and  I  left  them,  with  feelings  of  deep  respect  for  their  honest  poverty 
and  kind-heartedness.     Mr.  Whittemore  is  a  great  proprietor  here. 
His  great  house,  on  the  right,  is  under  repair,  and  he  occupies  a  "  cot- 
tage "  in  the  village ;  about  such  a  house  as  Mr.  Wickham's.     His 
poor  tenant  at  Quat  is  the  third  instance  I  have  met  with  of  a  per- 
son refusing  money  here.     The  first  was  the  parish-clerk,  at  Battle- 
field ;  the  next,  Bourne,  the  head-waiter  at  the  Lion ;  a  thing  hardly 
credible  in  England,  where  the  rapacity  of  this  class,  in  particular,  is 
proverbial ;  for — asking  Mr.  Wickham's  pardon  for  making  free  with 
his  person,  as  well  as  his  house — you  meet  with  as  well  dressed  per- 
sons as  himself  who  will  make  you  a  low  bow  for  sixpence  ;  aye,  and 
beg  for  it,  to  boot.     I  thought  a  thousand  times  of  Mr.  Wickham's 
speech.     Plunder  is  the  order  of  the  day.     Shopkeepers,  tradesmen, 
but,  above  all,  innkeepers,  waiters,  postillions,  ostlers,  and  chamber- 
maids, fleece  you  without  mercy  ;  all  is  venal.     Pray  remember  the 
boots  !     Something  for  the  waiter,  sir  ! — and  this  at  a  coffee-house 
where  you  have  only  stepped  in  to  take  a  glass  of  negus,  after  a 


134  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

play,  and  have  paid  a  double  price  for  it.  You  can't  get  a  reply- 
to  the  plainest  question  without  paying  for  it,  unless  you  go  into 
a  shop ;  and  to  speak  to  one  whom  you  don't  know,  is  received 
with  an  air  as  if  you  had  clapped  a  pistol  to  his  breast. 

But  I  should  do  the  greatest  injustice  were  I  not  to  say,  that  the 
higher  ranks — a  few  despicable  and  despised  fashionables  ex- 
cepted— are  as  unpretending  and  plain  as  our  old-fashioned  Virgin- 
ian gentlemen,  whom  they  greatly  resemble.  This  class  of  men  is 
now  nearly  extinct,  to  my  great  grief,  and  the  shame  and  loss  of  our 
country.  They  are  as  distinct  from  the  present  race  in  their  manners, 
dress,  principles,  and  every  thing  but  anatomical  structure,  as  an 
eagle  is  from  a  pig,  or  a  wild  turkey  from  a  turkey-buzzard.  The 
English  gentleman  is  not  graceful,  not  affable,  but  plain,  sincere,  kind, 
without  one  particle  of  pretension  in  dress,  manner,  or  any  thing 
else. 

At  Kidderminster,  I  breakfasted  (15  miles),  and  saw  the  carpet 
manufactory,  and  bought  four  hearth  rugs.  I  also  visited  the  old 
church,  as  was  my  custom,  and  copied  an  epitaph,  not  on  the  rich 
and  great,  but  a  poor  sergeant,  erected  by  his  colonel ;  I  mean  the 
monument  was,  not  the  epitaph.  We  entered  Worcestershire  some 
miles  before  we  reached  Kidderminster.  It  is  perhaps  the  finest 
county  in  the  kingdom,  take  it  for  all  and  all.  Among  the  seats 
between  Kidderminster  and  Worcester,  are  Halleburg  ;  the  Bp.  of 
W.'s,  where  the  pigs  (hogs,  we  should  call  them,)  were  in  the  beauti- 
ful grounds  ;  Waverley  House,  Mrs.  Orange,  a  rich  widow  lady, 
with  an  only  daughter,  unmarried — this  is  one  of  the  prettiest  and 
finest  places  I  have  seen  ;  Sir  John  Fleming  Leicester's,  between 
Knutsford  and  Northwich  (which  I  just  remember  to  have  omitted),  is 
another  very  capital  place ;  and  I  am  sure  I  have  not  mentioned  a 
thousand  superior  to  any  thing  we  have.  But  the  air  of  comfort  and 
fatness  since  we  left  Lancashire,  is  very-  refreshing.  The  houses  are 
old  and  weather-stained,  but  clean  to  fastidiousness  ;  some  of  frame- 
work, filled  in  with  brick ;  the  timbers  black,  and  the  brick-work 
overcast  with  lime,  and  white  as  this  paper  ;  casement-lights,  leaden 
sashes,  &c.  Ombresley  Court,  Lady  Downshire's,  which  is  the 
ancient  seat  of  the  Sandys  family,  is  a  fine  place.  She  is  a  Sandys, 
and  Baroness  S.  in  her  own  right.  I  thought  of  Walpole  and  Pulte- 
ney,  and  her  progenitor  who  sunk  into  a  peerage. 

At  Worcester,  in  driving  into  the  Hop  Pole  Inn  yard,  the  postil- 
lion had  nearly  killed  a  poor  girl,  with  a  child  in  her  arms.  She  was 
thrown  down,  but,  God  be  praised  !  neither  were  hurt.  I  would  not 
endure  what  I  felt  while  the  suspense  lasted  for  any  consideration. 
Town  full.  Quarter  sessions.  Cleanest  and  prettiest  town  (a  city) 
that  I  have  yet  seen.  Determined  to  remain,  and  see  the  cathedral ; 
but  next  morning  I  determined  otherwise. 


INCIDENTS  IN  ENGLAND.  135 

Giving  up,  for  the  present,  my  pilgrimage  to  Cheltenham,  I  set 
out  on  the  top  of  the  coach,  paying  12  shillings  for  my  fare  to  Lon- 
don, and  through  the  Vale  of  Evesham,  and  an  enchanting  coun- 
try through  Pershire,  Bengeworth,  Morton,  Broadway  (where  is  a 
tremendous  hill,  commanding  the  whole  vale  and  the  Malvern  Hills), 
Morton,  Woodstock,  Oxford,  a  city  of  palaces 

And  here,  my  dear  Bet,  I  must  again  abruptly  close  this  long- 
winded  epistle,  with  assurances  of  my  exalted  regard. 

J.  R.  of  R. 

I  broke  open  this  letter  myself. 


CHAPTEE    XXI. 

INCIDENTS  IN   ENGLAND. 

In  the  month  of  June,  says  Mr.  Harvey,  I  went  over  to  London,  ac- 
companied by  my  father,  who  had  been  summoned  to  attend  a  com- 
mittee of  the  House  of  Commons,  to  give  evidence  in  a  case  of  some 
importance.  I  had  prepared  my  father  for  an  introduction  to  my 
most  eccentric  friend,  and  yet,  when  I  did  introduce  him,  he  could 
scarcely  refrain  from  smiling.  "  Sir,"  said  Mr.  Randolph,  '•  I  am 
proud  to  make  the  acquaintance  of  the  son  of  that  man  who  received 
the  thanks  of  Congress  for  his  kindness  to  my  poor  countrymen. 
Your  son,  my  young  friend  here,  sir,  tells  me  he  has  delivered  my 
letter,  and  I  hope  you  will  soon  receive  the  books  from  my  bookseller 
in  Washington.  Keep  them  as  a  momento  of  my  friendship,  sir." 
My  father  thanked  him  warmly  for  his  kindness,  and  we  entered  into 
a  general  conversation.     Suddenly  Randolph  rose  from  his  chair,  and, 

in  his  most  imposing  manner,  thus  addressed  him :  "  Mr.  H ,  two 

days  ago  I  saw  the  greatest  curiosity  in  London  ;  aye,  and  in  England, 
too,  sir — compared  to  which,  Westminster  Abbey,  the  Tower,  Somer- 
set House,  the  British  Museum,  nay  Parliament  itself,  sink  into  utter 
insignificance  !  I  have  seen,  sir,  Elizabeth  Fry.  of  Newgate,  and  I 
have  witnessed  there,  sir,  miraculous  effects  of  true  Christianity  upon 
the  most  depraved  of  human  beings — bad  women,  sir,  who  are  worse, 
if  possible,  than  the  devil  himself!  and  yet  the  wretched  outcasts 


186  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

have  been  tamed  and  subdued  by  the  Christian  eloquence  of  Mrs. 
Fry  !  I  have  seen  them  weep  repentant  tears  whilst  she  addressed 
them.  I  have  heard  their  groans  of  despair,  sir  !  Nothing  but  reli- 
gion can  effect  this  miracle,  sir ;  for  what  can  be  a  greater  miracle 
than  the  conversion  of  a  degraded,  sinful  woman,  taken  from  the  very 
dregs  of  society  !  Oh  !  sir,  it  was  a  sight  worthy  the  attention  of 
angels  !  You  must,  also,  see  this  wonder,  sir ;  and,  by  the  way,  this 
is  one  of  her  visiting  days — let  us  go  at  once ;  we  shall  just  be  in 
time.  She  has  given  me  permission  to  bring  any  of  my  friends  with 
me.  I  shall  introduce  you,  sir,  with  great  pleasure."  We  immedi- 
ately ordered  a  coach,  and  drove  to  Mrs.  Fry's  house,  but  found,  to 
our  no  small  disappointment,  that  she  was  not  in  town  that  day. 

It  was  my  good  fortune,  afterwards,  to  become  acquainted  with 
Mrs.  Fry,  and  to  spend  a  day  or  two  at  her  country-seat,  near  Lon- 
don, and  I  need  scarcely  add,  that  my  admiration  of  her  character 
was,  if  possible,  increased  by  this  introduction  into  her  social  circle. 
In  the  course  of  conversation,  I  said  to  Miss  Fry,  "  Pray  tell  me  in 
what  way  you  became  acquainted  with  my  eccentric  friend  Randolph  ?" 
"  Why,"  replied  she,  ':  in  rather  an  eccentric  way.  One  day  my  mo- 
ther was  in  town,  getting  ready  to  go  to  Newgate,  when  a  stranger 
was  announced.  A  tall,  thin  gentleman,  with  long  hair,  and  very 
strangely  dressed,  entered  the  parlor,  walked  deliberately  up  to  my 
mother,  who  rose  to  receive  him,  and  held  out  his  hand,  saying,  in 
the  sweet  tone  of  a  lady's  voice,  '  I  feel  I  have  some  right  to  intro- 
duce myself  to  Elizabeth  Fry,  as  I  am  the  friend  of  her  friend,  Jessy 
Kersey,  of  Philadelphia,  (a  celebrated  preacher  in  the  Society  of 
Friends).  I  am  John  Randolph,  of  Roanoke,  State  of  Virginia ;  the  fel- 
low countryman  of  Washington.'  My  mother,  who  had  heard  a  great 
deal  of  him  from  different  persons,  gave  him  a  cordial  reception  ;  and 
was  so  extremely  pleased  with  his  most  original  conversation,  she  not 
only  took  him  with  her  to  Newgate,  but  invited  him  to  come  and  see  us. 
We  have  since  seen  him  several  times,  and  have  been  highly  delighted 
with  him.  Last  week  some  strangers  were  to  dine  with  us,  and  my 
mother  invited  him  to  be  of  the  number.  In  writing  the  note  of  in- 
vitation, I  apologized  to  him  for  naming  so  unfashionably  earl}7  an 
hour  as  four  o'clock,  knowing  that  at  the  west  end  he  never  dined  be- 
fore eight.  His  reply  was  quite  characteristic,  and  made  us  all 
laugh  heartily.     Here  it  is :  '  Mr.  Randolph  regrets  that  a  prior  en- 


INCIDENTS  IN  ENGLAND.  137 

gageinent  will  deprive  him  of  the  pleasure  of  dining  with  Mrs  Fry 
on  Thursday  next.  No  apology,  however,  was  necessary  for  the  early 
hour  named  in  her  note,  as  it  is  two  hours  later  than  Mr.  R.  is  accus- 
tomed to  dine  in  Virginia ;  and  he  has  not  yet  been  long  enough  in 
London  to  learn  how  to  turn  day  into  night,  and  vice  versa.' " 

I  told  Randolph,  next  day,  that  I  had  seen  his  note.  "  "Well,  sir," 
said  he,  ';  and  was  I  not  right  to  be  candid  ?  Mrs.  Fry  is  a  most  sen- 
sible woman,  sir,  and  she  shows  her  good  taste  by  opposing  the  fool- 
ish customs  of  the  aristocracy  ;  and  I  wanted  her  to  know  that  T  agreed 
with  her,  sir.  I  can  go  all  but  the  late  dinners  ;  they  are  killing  me. 
sir ;  and  I  must  quickly  run  away  from  London,  or  cut  my  noble  ac- 
quaintances." 

Before  my  arrival  in  London,  Lord  L ,  meeting  Randolph 

one  night,  under  the  gallery  of  the  House  of  Commons,  introduced 
himself  to  him,  and  they  became  very  intimate.  His  lordship  said 
to  me  one  day  afterwards,  "  I  have  never  met  with  so  thoroughly 
well-informed  a  gentleman  as  your  friend  Randolph,  no  matter  what 
the  subject — history,  belles-lettres,  biography  j  but,  sir,  the  most 
astonishing  part  of  all  is,  that  he  possesses  a  minute  local  knowledge 
of  England  and  Ireland.  I  thought  that  I  knew  them  well,  but  I 
assure  you  I  was  obliged  to  yield  the  palm  to  him.  I  have  purposely 
tried  to  puzzle  or  confuse  him,  but  all  in  vain.  His  conversational 
powers  are  most  dazzling,  even  in  London,  sir,  where  we  pride  our- 
selves on  good  talkers.  I  never  have  been  so  much  struck  with  any 
stranger ;  and  although  a  high  tory,  I  always  forgot  that  lie  was  a  re- 
publican. By  the  way,  not  a  very  bigoted  one,  sir.  I  never  heard 
him  abuse  the  aristocracy  !  I  was  so  much  pleased  with  him,  on  our 
first  interview,  I  determined  to  pay  him  a  mark  of  respect,  which  I 
was  sure  would  gratify  his  Virginia  pride.  I  solicited  permission 
from  the  Lord  Chancellor,  to  introduce  Mr.  Randolph,  as  a  distin- 
guished American,  into  the  House  of  Lords,  by  the  private  entrance, 
near  the  throne,  instead  of  obliging  him  to  force  his  way,  with  the 
crowd,  at  the  common  entrance.  Having  obtained  his  lordship's  con- 
sent, I  then  introduced  Mr.  Randolph  to  the  door-keeper,  and  desired 
him  to  admit  him  whenever  he  presented  himself,  without  requiring 
him  to  exhibit  any  special  order.  His  figure  and  whole  appearance 
are  so  singular,  I  ran  no  risk  in  having  any  counterfeit  Randolphs, — 
and  I  said  so  to  the  door-keeper,  as  some  excuse  for  omitting  our 


188  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

usual  practice.  When  I  told  him  of  his  privilege,  I  saw  at  once  that 
I  had  won  my  way  to  his  heart ;  and  amply  has  he  repaid  me,  sir,  by 
the  richness  of  his  conversations  whenever  we  have  since  met." 

A  few  days  after  my  arrival  in  London,  continues  Mr.  Harvey. 
I  had  an  opportunity  of  testing  the  value  of  this  privilege  of  private 
entry.  It  will  be  recollected  that  George  Canning,  in  the  year  1822. 
just  previous  to  his  intended  departure  as  governor-general  of  India 
(which  never  took  place,  owing  to  Lord  Castlereagh's  death),  intro- 
duced, and  carried  through  the  House  of  Commons,  the  ':  Roman 
Catholic  Peers'  bill,"  as  it  was  called,  which  he  intended  as  a  fare- 
well legacy  to  his  countrymen.  It  passed  by  a  handsome  majority, 
and  was  then  sent  to  undergo  the  fiery  ordeal  of  the  House  of  Lords 
The  subject  engrossed   public  attention,  and  there  was  great  anxiety 

to  attend  the  debate  on  the  appointed  night.     The  Marquis  of  L 

was  kind  enough  to  present  me  with  an  order  to  admit  two  persons — 
myself  and  friend — and  I  returned  to  our  lodgings  in  great  glee. 
There  I  found  Randolph,  told  him  of  my  good  luck,  and  offered  him 
the  unoccupied  half  of  my  order. 

"  Pray,  sir,"  said  he  "  at  which  door  do  you  intend  to  enter  the 
House  ? 

"  At  the  lower  door,  of  course,"  replied  I  "  where  all  strangers 
enter." 

"  Not  all  strangers  if  you  please,"  said  he,  "  for  I  shall  enter  at  the 
private  door,  near  the  throne  !"  "  Oh,  my  dear  sir,"  replied  I,  "your 
privilege,  I  dare  say,  will  answer  on  any  common  occasion ;  but  to- 
night the  members  of  the  House  of  Commons  will  entirely  fill  the 
space  around  the  throne,  and  no  stranger,  depend  upon  it,  will  be 
admitted  there.  So  be  wise,  and  don't  refuse  this  chance,  or  you 
will  regret  it." 

"  What  sir,"  retorted  he,  "  do  you  suppose  I  would  consent  to 
struggle  with  and  push  through  the  crowd  of  persons  who,  for  two 
long  hours,  must  fight  their  way  in  at  the  lower  door  ?  Oh  no,  sir  !  I 
shall  do  no  such  thing ;  and  if  I  cannot  enter  as  a  gentleman  com- 
moner, I  go  not  at  all !  " 

After  vainly  endeavoring  to  induce  him  to  change  his  mind,  we 
separated ;  he  for  the  aristocratic  entrance,  I  for  the  common  one. 
With  great  difficulty,  and  wondering  how  I  had  preserved  my  coat-tails 
whole,  I  finally  squeezed  myself  into  the  House,  half  suffocated,  and 


INCIDENTS  IN  ENGLAND.  189 

was  fortunate  enough  (being  then  young  and  active)  to  secure  a  stand 
at  the  bar,  from  whence  I  could  see  my  noble  lord's  face,  and  hear 
every  word  that  was  spoken.     Casting  a  glance  towards   the   throne 
soon  after  my  entrance,  to  my  no  small  surprise  and  envy,  I   beheld 
'•  Randolph  of  Roanoke"  in  all  his  glory,  walking  in  most  leisurely, 
and  perfectly  at  home,  along-side  of  Canning,  Lord  Castlereagh,  Sir 
Robert  Peel,  and  many  other  distinguished  members  of  the  House 
of  Commons.     Some  of  these  gentlemen  even  selected  for  him  a  pro- 
minent position,  where  he  could  see  and  hear  perfectly,  and  I  observ- 
ed many  courtesies  passing   between  them  during  the  night.     Very 
shortly   after  Mr.    Randolph's  arrival  in  London,  a    splendid   ball 
was  given,  under  the  immediate  patronage  of  George  the  Fourth  and 
the  principal  nobility,  for  the  benefit  of  the  poor  Irish  peasantry  of 
Munster  and   Connaught,  who   were  suffering  from    the    effects  of 
famine,  attended   as  usual  by  disease.     It  was  a  magnificent  affair, 
Randolph  attended,  glad  of  an  opportunity  to  give  his  mite,  and  to 
behold  at  the  same  time  the  congregated  aristocracy  of  Great  Britain. 
"  It  was  cheap,  sir,  very  cheap  "  said  he  to  me,  "  actors  and  actresses 
innumerable,  and   all   dressed  out   most   gorgeously.     There    were 
jewels  enough,  sir,  there,  to  make  new  crowns  for  all  the  monarchs 
of  Europe  !     And  I,  too,  republican  though  I  am,  must  needs  go 
in  court-dress  !     Well  sir,  don't  imagine  that  I  was  so  foolish  as  to 
purchase  a  new  suit,  at  a  cost  of  twenty-five  or  thirty  guineas.     Oh 
no  !  I  have  not  studied  London  life  for  nothing.     I  have  been  told, 
sir.  that  many  a  noble  lady  would  appear  at  the  ball  that  night  with 
jewels  hired  for  the  occasion  ;  and  I  took  the  hint,  sir,  and  hired  a 
full  court-dress  for  five  guineas.     When  I  beheld  myself  in  the  glass, 
I  laughed  at  the  oddity  of  my  appearance,  and  congratulated  my- 
self that  I  was   three  thousand  miles  from  Charlotte  Court-House. 
Had   I  played  the  harlecpiin  t/iere,   sir,  I  think  my  next  election 
would  be  doubtful.     I  stole  into  the  room,  with  rather  a   nervous 
walk,  and  was  about  selecting  a  very  quiet  position  in  a  corner,  when 
your    countryman,    Lord    Castlereagh,    seeing    my   embarrassment, 
came  forward,  and  with  an  air  of  the  most  finished  politeness,  insist- 
ed upon  being  my  chaperon.     For  one  hour  he  devoted  himself  to 
me.  and  pointed  out  all  persons  of  notoriety  in  the  crowd  as  they 
passed  us  in  review.     Such  was  the  fascination  of  his  manners,  I  for- 
got, for  the  moment,  that  I  was  speaking  to  the  man  who  had  sold 


190  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

his  country's  independence  and  his  own ;  who  had  lent  hS  aid  to  a 
licentious  monarch  to  destroy  his  queen,  who,  if  guilty,  might  point 
to  her  husband's  conduct  as  the  cause  of  her  fall.  But,  sir,  I  was 
spellbound  for  that  hour,  for  never  did  I  meet  a  more  accomplished 
gentleman  ;  and  yet  he  is  a  deceitful  politician,  whose  character  none 
can  admire.  An  Irish  tory,  sir,  I  never  could  abide."  Miss  Edge- 
worth  and  Randolph  met  together  for  the  first  time  at  the  breakfast- 
table  of  a  very  distinguished  Irish  member  of  Parliament  (now  a 
peer  of  the  realm).  The  gentleman  to  whom  I  refer,  told  me  that 
it  was  an  intellectual  feast,  such  as  he  had  rarely  enjoyed  before. 
To  use  his  own  words : 

"  Spark  produced  spark,  and  for  three  hours  they  kept  up  the 
fire,  until  it  ended  in  a  perfect  blaze  of  wit,  humor,  and  repartee. 
It  appeared  to  me  that  Mr.  R.  was  more  intimately  acquainted  with 
Miss  Edgeworth's  works  than  she  was  herself.  He  frequently  quoted 
passages  where  her  memory  was  at  fault ;  and  he  brought  forward 
every  character  of  any  note  in  all  her  productions :  but  what  most 

astonished  us  was,  his  intimate  knowledge  of  Ireland.     Lady  T 

and  myself  did  nothing  but  listen  ;  and  I  was  really  vexed  when  some 
public  business  called  me  away." 

"  Who  do  you  think  I  met  under  the  gallery  of  the  House  of 
Commons  ?"  said  Randolph  to  me  one  day.  "  You  can't  guess,  and 
so  I'll  tell  you.  There  was  a  spruce,  dapper  little  gentleman  sitting 
next  to  me,  and  he  made  some  trifling  remark,  to  which  I  replied. 
We  then  entered  into  conversation,  and  I  found  him  a  most  fascinat- 
ing witty  fellow.  He  pointed  out  to  me  the  distinguished  members 
who  were  unknown  to  me,  and  frequently  gave  them  a  friendly  shot. 
At  parting,  he  handed  me  his  card,  and  I  read  with  some  surprise, 
'  Mr.  Thomas  Moore.'  Yes.  sir,  it  ivas  the  '  Bard  of  Erin  ;'  and  upon 
this  discovery  I  said  to  him,  '  Well,  Mr.  Moore,  I  am  delighted  to 
meet  you  thus  ;  and  I  tell  you.  sir,  that  I  envy  you  more  for  being 
the  author  of  the  "  Twopenny  Post-bag"  and  ;'  Tom  Crib's  Memorial 
to  Congress,"  than  for  all  your  beautiful  songs,  which  play  the  fool 
with  young  ladies'  hearts.'  He  laughed  heartily  at  what  he  called 
my  '  singular  taste,'  and  we  parted  the  best  friends  imaginable." 

Mr.  Randolph  was  present  at  a  large  meeting  of  the  African  In- 
stitution at  London.  Mr.  Wilberforce,  after  speaking  with  his  usual 
ability  and  eloquence  on  the  appropriate  subjects  of  the  occasion, 
concluded  by  pronouncing  a  warm  panegyric  upon  the  example  set 
by  the  United  States  of  America,  in  making  the  slave-trade  piracy, 
and  upon  Mr.  Randolph's  great  efforts  in  promoting  that  act. 


INCIDENTS  IN  ENGLAND.  191 

Mr.  Randolph  then  rose  to  return  thanks  for  the  mark  of  respect 
towards  the  United  States  of  America.  After  a  few  appropriate  re- 
marks, he  thanked  the  meeting  for  the  grateful  sense  they  had 
expressed  towards  America ;  and  also  assured  them  that  all  that  was 
exalted  in  station,  in  talent,  and  in  moral  character  among  his  coun- 
trymen, was  (as  was  also  to  he  found  in  England)  firmly  united  for 
the  suppression  of  this  infamous  traffic.  It  was  delightful  to  him  to 
know  that  Virginia,  the  land  of  his  sires,  the  place  of  his  nativity, 
had  for  half  a  century  affixed  a  public  brand  and  indelible  stigma 
upon  this  traffic,  and  had  put  in  the  claim  of  the  wretched  objects  of 
it  to  the  common  rights  and  attributes  of  humanity. 

The  plainness  of  Mr.  Randolph's  appearance,  says  a  London 
paper,  his  republican  simplicity  of  manners,  and  easy  and  unaffected 
address,  attracted  much  attention,  and  he  sat  down  amidst  a  burst  of 
applause 

Mr.  Randolph  travelled  extensively  in  England  and  Scotland, 
met  a  flattering  and  distinguished  reception  wherever  he  went,  was 
pleased  with  every  thing,  and  delighted  every  body  with  his  cordial 
manner  and  fascinating  conversation.  He  returned  to  the  United 
States  about  the  last  of  November,  and  was  present  during  the  last 
session  of  the  seventeenth  Congress,  which,  on  the  3d  of  March,  1823, 
was  closed ;  but  he  did  not  open  his  lips  on  any  occasion  whatever ; 
indeed  there  was  no  discussion  of  any  importance  during  the  session. 
Immediately  on  the  adjournment  he  hurried  off  to  Virginia,  and 
spent  some  days  with  his  friend,  William  R.  Johnson,  in  Chesterfield, 
who  was  then  in  high  training  for  the  great  match  race  between  the 
North  and  the  South.  The  exercise  and  excitement  of  mind  in  anti- 
cipation of  his  favorite  sport  produced  an  evident  change  in  Mr.  Ran- 
dolph's health  ;  it  was  much  improved ;  he  slept  better  than  he  had 
for  ten  years. 

<;  To  that  night."  says  he,  "  spent  on  a  shuck  matress  in  a  little 
garret  room  at  Chesterfield  Court-house,  Sunday,  March  the  9th, 
1823.  I  look  back  with  delight.  It  was  a  stormy  night.  The  win- 
dows clattered,  and  William  R.  Johnson  got  up  several  times  to  try 
and  put  a  stop  to  the  noise,  by  thrusting  a  glove  between  the  loose 
sashes.  I  heard  the  noise  ;  I  even  heard  him  ;  but  it  did  not  dis- 
turb me.  I  enjoyed  a  sweet  nap  of  eight  hours,  during  which,  he  said, 
he  never  heard  me  breathe.  N  B  I  had  fasted  all  dav,  and  supped 
(which  I  have  not  done  since)  on  a  soft  egg  and  a  bit  of  biscuit.    My 


192  LIFE  0F  J0HN  RANDOLPH. 

feelings  next  day  were  as  new  and  delightful  as  those  of  any  bride 
the  day  after  her  nuptials,  and  the  impression  (on  memory  at  least) 
as  strong." 

He  was  present  (as  most  lovers  of  the  turf  were)  at  the  celebrated 
race  between  Eclipse  and  Henry,  on  the  Long  Island  Course,  in  the 
month  of  May.  He  stood  in  a  very  conspicuous  place  on  the  stand 
during  the  race,  surrounded  by  gentlemen  of  the  North  and  the 
South ;  and  he  evidently  was  very  confident  of  the  success  of  Henry. 
But  after  the  result,  to  him  so  unexpected,  and  while  the  thousands 
of  spectators  were  vociferously  applauding  the  successful  rider 
(Purdy),  Mr.  Randolph  gave  vent  to  his  great  disappointment  by 
exclaiming  to  those  around  him  in  his  most  satirical  tone  : 

"  Well,  gentlemen,  it  is  a  lucky  thing  for  the  country  that  the 
President  of  the  United  States  is  not  elected  by  acclamation,  else 
Mr.  Purdy  would  be  our  next  President,  beyond  a  doubt." 

He  then  left  the  ground,  and  spent  the  evening  with  Mr.  Rufus 
King,  at  Jamaica.     Next  day  he  said  to  a  friend,  with  a  sigh  : 

"  Ah,  sir  !  only  for  that  unfortunate  vote  on  the  Missouri  question, 
he  would  be  our  man  for  the  presidency.  He  is,  sir,  a  genuine  Eng- 
lish gentleman  of  the  old  school ;  just  the  right  man  for  these  degen- 
erate times.     But,  alas  !  it  cannot  be  !" 

Mr.  Randolph,  soon  after  this  event,  retired  into  his  usual  summer 
solitude,  at  Roanoke.  Thence,  on  the  25th  of  July,  he  asks  Dr. 
Brockenbrough,  "  You  and  Mr.  Wickham  are  wise  men,  but  a  by- 
stander, you  know,  sees  the  blots  of  better  players  than  himself. 
Are  you  both  resolved  to  die  in  harness  1  You  may  put  the  question 
to  me,  but  I  tell  you  NO.  March  3,  1825,  is  the  utmost  limit  of  my 
servitude.  But  what's  the  use  of  talking  ? — '  a  man  will  do  what  he 
will  do  ;'  a  saying,  which,  like  some  others,  I  once  took  to  be  rather 
silly,  but  which,  I  have  since  found  out.  contains  much  sense.    *  *  * 

"  You  wouldn't  infer  it  from  the  tone  of  this  epistle,  but  I  too  am 
sick — seriously  sick,  as  well  as  home-sick,  i.  e.  as  Sir  John  Brute  was 
wife-sick.  My  oaks  send  love  and  duty  to  you  and  the  silent  Mad- 
ame, and  hope  you'll  never  be  as  tired  of  them  as  their  master  is.  I 
would  go  among  the  Se/vidges,  beyond  the  '  mountings,'  but  I  dare 
not  encounter  Pharaoh's  plagues.  I'd  rather  be  swallowed  up  in  the 
Red  Sea  at  once. 


EIGHTEENTH  CONGRESS.  19g 

"  P.  S.  In  sheer  distress  what  to  do  with  myself,  I  yesterday 
read  Don  Juan — the  third,  fourth  and  fifth  cantos  for  the  first 
time — fact,  I  assure  you.  It  is  diabolically  good.  The  ablest,  I  am 
inclined  to  think,  of  all  his  performances.  I  now  fully  comprehend 
the  cause  of  the  odium  plusquam  theologicum  of  the  lake  school,  to- 
ward this  wayward  genius.  I  am  not  sorry  that  I  had  not  read  the 
whole  when  I  was  in  Southey's  company.  I  could  not  have  conversed 
so  unreservedly  as  I  did  on  the  subject  of  Byron's  writings." 

In  October,  he  says :  "  The  life  I  lead  here  is  enough  to  destroy 
the  intellectual  and  moral  faculty  of  any  human  being.  It  resembles. 
in  many  points,  solitary  confinement.  It  is  the  daily  recurrence  of 
the  same  dreary  scene ;  and  when  evening  sets  in,  so  that  I  cannot 
read  or  ride,  nothing  can  be  imagined  more  forlorn.  But  I  struggle 
through  it,  as  the  will  of  Providence. 

"  I've  received  from  London  some  publications  on  the  subject  of 
slavery,  that  have  awakened  me  more  than  ever  to  that  momentous 
question.  They  are  from  Wilberforce,  T.  Clarkson,  Adam  Hodgson, 
and  a  larger  pamphlet,  entitled  '  Negro  Slavery  as  it  exists  in  the 
U.  S.  and  the  West  Indies,  especially  in  Jamaica ' — that  being  held 
up  as  the  negro  paradise,  by  the  W.  I.  body  in  England." 


CHAPTER    XXII. 

EIGHTEENTH   CONGRESS — CONSOLIDATION    IS    THE    ORDER    OF 
THE   DAY — "SPEAK  A   CHEERING  WORD   TO   THE   GREEKS." 

In  1822,  a  leading  federalist,  one  who  was  conspicuous  in  the  attempt 
to  elect  Burr  over  Jefferson,  and  was  opposed  to  every  measure  of 
the  Jefferson  and  of  the  Madison  administrations,  in  1822,  made  use 
of  these  words :  "  The  federalists  almost  unanimously  declared  their 
approbation  of  the  leading  measures  of  the  Government,  and  gave  it 
their  cordial  support.  The  National  Government,  indeed,  destroyed 
the  federal  party,  in  the  only  way  it  could  be  destroyed,  by  adopting, 
substantially  its  principles.'1''  This  was  true  in  that  "  era  of  good- 
feeling,"  when  we  were  "  all  federalists  and  all  republicans."  The 
vol.  11.  9 


194  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

seeds  of  consolidation  were  sowed  broad-cast.  But  at  no  period  were 
more  rapid  strides  made  toward  a  prostration  of  all  the  barriers  of 
the  Constitution,  than  at  the  first  session  of  the  eighteenth  Congress. 
A  general  distress  pervaded  all  departments  of  business.  The  peo- 
ple were  taught  to  look  to  Government  for  relief,  and  were  ready  to 
acquiesce  in  any  measure  that  gave  hopes  of  present  alleviation, 
without  regard  to  the  consequences ;  and,  besides  this,  there  seemed  to 
be  a  universal  madness — a  national  and  individual  ambition  that 
o'erleaped  all  bounds,  and  embraced  the  whole  world  in  its  aspiring 
grasp.  The  body  politic  seemed  to  be  radically  diseased.  "  You  are 
right,"  said  Randolph,  to  a  friend  who  was  deploring  the  state  of 
tilings,  ';  consolidation  is  the  order  of  the  day.  The  epidemic  shows 
itself  in  a  thousand  Protean  forms :  so  was  despotism  epidemic  from 
the  foundations  of  the  world.  In  that  state  of  the  body  politic  the 
predisposition  turns  every  pimple  to  cancer."  With  this  belief, 
and  in  this  spirit,  he  met  and  manfully,  though  often  unsuccessfully, 
fought  each  Protean  shape,  as  it  successively  arose  to  distil  its  lep- 
rous poison  into  the  Constitution,  or  to  develope  the  seeds  of  some 
gangrenous  ulcer,  deep  festering  in  the  body  politic. 

The  first  subjeet  Mr.  Randolph  met  and  successfully  opposed, 
was  the  measure  proposed  by  Congress  to  be  adopted  on  the  Greek 
question.  It  will  be  recollected  that  the  Spanish  provinces,  Mexico, 
Peru,  New  Granada,  and  others,  had  been  struggling  for  a  long  time 
for  their  independence.  They  had  been  recognized  by  the  United 
States  as  independent  Republics,  and  ministers  had  been  sent  to  re- 
side near  their  respective  governments.  But  Spain  still  persisted  in 
her  efforts  to  reconquer  her  revolted  provinces  ;  and  it  was  rumored 
that  aid  would  be  granted  her  for  this  purpose,  by  the  allied  powers 
of  Europe.  In  the  mean  time,  the  Greeks,  also,  had  revolted  from 
the  odious  yoke  of  Turkish  despotism,  and  were  fighting  with  a  valor 
and  a  success  worthy  of  the  better  days  of  Thermopyke  and  of  Mar- 
athon. 

In  this  state  of  things,  the  President  in  his  annual  message  to 
Congress  expressed  the  opinion  that  there  was  reason  to  hope  that 
the  Greeks  would  be  successful  in  the  present  struggle  with  their 
oppressors,  and  that  the  power  that  has  so  long  crushed  them  had 
lost  its  dominion  over  them  for  ever.  The  same  communication  con- 
tained other  matters  of  great  importance,  in  relation  to  the  rumored 


EIGHTEENTH  CONGRESS.  195 

combination  of  foreign  sovereigns  to  interfere  in  the  affairs  of  South 
America,  Under  these  circumstances,  Mr.  Webster  thought  it  was 
proper  and  becoming  that  the  communication  of  the  President  should 
receive  some  response  from  the  House  of  Representatives.  Accord- 
ingly, on  Monday,  December  the  8th,  1823,  he  submitted  for  consider- 
ation a  resolution  :  "  That  provision  ought  to  be  made,  by  law.  for 
defraying  the  expense  incident  to  the  appointment  of  an  agent,  or 
commissioner,  to  Greece,  whenever  the  President  shall  deem  it  expe- 
dient to  make  such  appointment." 

On  the  19th  of  January  the  resolution  was  called  up,  and  Mr. 
Webster  delivered  his  sentiments  on  the  subject  embraced  in  it,  in  a 
speech  of  great  power,  eloquence,  and  feeling.  When  he  sat  down. 
Mr.  Clay  introduced  a  resolution :  "  That  the  people  of  these  States 
would  not  see,  without  serious  inquietude,  any  forcible  interposition 
by  the  allied  powers  of  Europe,  in  behalf  of  Spain,  to  reduce  to 
their  former  subjection  those  parts  of  the  continent  of  America  which 
have  proclaimed  and  established  for  themselves,  respectively,  inde- 
pendent governments,  and  which  have  been  solemnly  recognized 
by  the  United  States."  Thus  the  whole  field  of  foreign  politics  was 
brought  within  the  scope  of  the  debate. 

Next  dav  Mr.  Poinsett  delivered  his  sentiments  at  length  on  the 
subject,  and  concluded  by  moving  a  modification  of  Mr.  Webster's 
resolution,  so  as  merely  to  express  the  sympathy  of  the  nation  for  the 
suffering  Greeks,  and  the  interest  felt  by  the  Government  in  their  wel- 
fare and  success.  Mr.  Clay  then  followed  and  expressed  himself  with 
great  force.  It  was,  indeed,  a  glorious  theme  !  wide  as  the  sufferings 
of  humanity ;  deep  as  the  love  of  liberty  in  the  breast  of  man.  It 
was  a  subject  that  took  hold  on  the  hearts  of  the  people ;  predisposed 
to  sympathize  with  nations  struggling  against  despotism  every  where, 
how  could  they  resist  the  appeals  of  the  glorious  descendants  of 
Leonidas,  and  of  Epaminondas,  and  Philopcemen  ;  aided,  too,  by 
the  condensed  logic  of  Webster,  the  varied  learning  of  Poinsett, 
and  the  fervid  eloquence  of  Henry  Clay?  A  harvest  of  golden 
opinions  was  to  be  the  destined  reward  of  this  day's  exhibition. 
Webster  was  to  be  translated  into  Greek,  to  be  read  with  rapture 
through  the  Peloponnesus,  and  to  be  pronounced  side  by  side  with 
Demosthenes  from  the  heights  of  the  Acropolis  ;  while  Clay  was  to 
receive  the  thanks  and  the  gratitude  of  the  South  American  Repub- 


196  LIFE  0F  J0HN  RANDOLPH. 

lies  through   the  person  of  the  great  Liberator,  the  modern  "Wash- 
ington. 

Under  such  circumstances,  it  took  a  man  of  no  ordinary  strength 
of  character  to  resist  these  seductive  measures,  and  expose  their  true 
nature  and  tendency.  John  Randolph  was  the  man  for  the  times  : 
he  was  then,  as  he  had  been  for  years  past,  "  the  solitary  warder  on 
the  wall ;"  all  others  were  asleep,  or  caught  away  by  the  enthusiasm  ; 
he  saw  the  danger,  and  gave  the  alarm. 

"  This."  said  he,  "  is  perhaps  one  of  the  finest  and  prettiest  themes 
for  declamation  ever  presented  to  a  deliberative  assembly.  But  it 
appears  to  me  in  a  light  very  different  from  any  that  has  as  yet  been 
thrown  upon  it. 

';  I  look  at  the  measure  as  one  fraught  with  deep  and  deadly  dan- 
ger to  the  best  interests  and  to  the  liberties  of  the  American  people ; 
so  satisfied,  sir,  am  I  of  this,  that  I  have  been  constrained  by  the 
conviction  to  overcome  the  almost  insuperable  repugnance  I  feel  to 
throwing  myself  upon  the  notice  of  the  House  :  but  I  feel  it  to  be 
my  duty  to  raise  my  voice  against  both  these  propositions. 

My  intention  in  rising  at  present,  sir,  is  merely  to  move,  that  the 
eommittee  rise,  and  that  both  of  the  resolutions  may  be  printed.  I 
wish  to  have  some  time  to  think  of  this  business,  to  deliberate,  before 
we  take  this  leap  in  the  dark  into  the  Archipelago,  or  the  Black  Sea, 
or  into  the  wide-mouthed  La  Plata.  I  know,  sir,  that  the  post  of 
honor  is  on  the  other  side  of  the  House,  the  post  of  toil  and  of  diffi- 
culty on  this  side,  if,  indeed,  any  body  shall  be  with  me  on  this  side. 
It  is  a  difficult  and  an  invidious  task  to  stem  the  torrent  of  public 
sentiment,  when  all  the  generous  feelings  of  the  human  heart  are  ap- 
pealed to.  But  I  was  delegated,  sir,  to  this  House,  to  guard  the 
interests  of  the  people  of  the  United  States,  not  to  guard  the  rights 
of  other  people  ;  and.  if  it  was  doubted,  even  in  the  case  of  England, 
a  land  fertile  above  all  other  lands  (not  excepting  Greece  herself)  in 
great  and  glorious  men — if  it  was  doubted  whether  her  interference 
in  the  politics  of  the  continent,  though  separated  from  it  only  by  a 
narrow  strait,  not  so  wide  as  the  Chesapeake,  as  our  Mediterranean 
Sea,  had  redounded  either  to  her  honor  or  advantage  ;  if  the  effect  of 
that  interference  has  been  a  monumental  debt  that  paralyzes  the  arm 
that  might  now  strike  for  Greece,  that  certainly  would  have  struck 
for  Spain,  can  it  be  for  us  to  seek,  in  the  very  bottom  of  the  Mediter- 
ranean, for  a  quarrel  with  the  Ottoman  Porte?  And  this,  while  we 
have  an  ocean  rolling  between  ?  While  we  are  in  that  sea  without  a 
single  port  to  refit  a  gun-boat ;  and  while  the  powers  of  Barbary  lie 
in  succession  in  our  path,  shall  we  open  this  Pandora's  box  of  politi- 
cal evils  ?     Are  we  prepared  for  a  war  with  these  pirates  ?  (not  that 


EIGHTEENTH  CONGRESS.  197 

we  are  not  perfectly  competent  to  such  a  war,  but)  does  it  suit  our 
finances?  Does  it  suit,  sir,  our  magnificent  projects  of  roads  and 
canals  ?  Does  it  suit  the  temper  of  our  people  ?  Does  it  promote 
their  interests  ?  will  it  add  to  their  happiness  ?  Sir,  why  did  we 
remain  supine  while  Piedmont  and  Naples  were  crushed  by  Austria  ? 
Why  did  we  stand  aloof,  while  the  Spanish  peninsula  was  again 
reduced  under  legitimate  government?  If  we  did  not  interfere  then, 
why  now  ? 

"  This  Quixotism,  in  regard  either  to  Greece  or  to  South  Ameri- 
ca, is  not  what  the  sober  and  reflecting  minds  of  our  people  require 
at  our  hands.  Sir,  we  are  in  debt  as  individuals,  and  we  are  in  debt 
as  a  nation ;  and  never,  since  the  days  of  Saul  and  David,  or  Caesar 
and  Catiline,  could  a  more  unpropitious  period  have  been  found  for 
such  an  undertaking.  The  state  of  society  is  too  much  disturbed. 
There  is  always,  in  a  debtor,  a  tendency  either  to  torpor  or  to  despe- 
ration— neither  condition  is  friendly  to  such  deliberations.  But  I 
will  suspend  what  I  have  further  to  say  on  this  subject.  For  my  part, 
I  see  as  much  danger,  and  more,  in  the  resolution  proposed  by  the 
gentleman  from  Kentucky,  as  in  that  of  the  gentleman  from  Massa- 
chusetts. The  war  that  may  follow  on  the  one,  is  a  distant  war:  it 
lies  on  the  other  side  of  the  ocean.  The  war  that  may  be  induced 
by  the  other,  is  a  war  at  hand;  it  is  on  the  same  continent.  I  am 
equally  opposed  to  the  amendment  which  has  been  since  offered  to 
the  original  resolutions.  Let  us  look  a  little  further  at  all  of  them. 
Let  us  sleep  upon  them  before  we  pass  resolutions,  which,  I  will  not 
say,  are  mere  loops  to  hang  speeches  on,  and  thereby  commit  the  na- 
tion to  a  war,  the  issues  of  which  it  is  not  given  to  human  sagacity 
to  divine." 

The  resolutions  were  postponed.  When  again  taken  up,  Mr.  Ran- 
dolph spoke  at  large  upon  them.  We  must  be  content  with  a  few  par- 
agraphs, only. 

'l  It  is  with  serious  concern  and  alarm,"  said  Mr.  Randolph,  "  that 
I  have  heard  doctrines  broached  in  this  debate,  fraught  with  conse- 
quences more  disastrous  to  the  best  interests  of  this  people,  than  any 
that  I  ever  heard  advanced,  during  the  five  and  twenty  years  since  I 
have  been  honored  with  a  seat  on  this  floor.  They  imply,  to  my  ap- 
prehension, a  total  and  fundamental  change  of  the  policy  pursued  by 
this  Government,  ab  urbe  condita — from  the  foundation  of  the  Repub- 
lic, to  the  present  day.  Are  we,  sir,  to  go  on  a  crusade,  in  another 
hemisphere,  for  the  propagation  of  two  objects  as  dear  and  delightful 
to  my  heart,  as  to  that  of  any  gentleman  in  this,  or  in  any  other  as- 
sembly— Liberty  and  Religion — and,  in  the  name  of  these  holy 
words — by  this  powerful  spell,  is  this  nation  to  be  conjured  and  be- 
guiled out  of  the  highway  of  heaven — out  of  its   present  compara- 


198  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

tively  happy  state,  into  all  the  disastrous  conflicts  arising  from  the 
policy  of  European  powers,  with  all  the  consequences  which  flow  from 
them?  Liberty  and  Religion,  sir!  Things  that  are  yet  dear,  in  spite 
of  all  the  mischief  that  has  been  perpetrated  in  their  name.  I  be- 
lieve that  nothing  similar  to  this  proposition  is  to  be  found  in  modern 
history,  unless  in  the  famous  decree  of  the  French  National  Assem- 
bly, which  brought  combined  Europe  against  them,  with  its  united 
strength;  and,  after  repeated  struggles,  finally  effected  the  downfall 
of  the  French  power. 

•■  I  will  respectfully  ask  the  gentleman  from  Massachusetts, 
whether,  in  his  very  able  and  masterly  argument — and  he  has  said 
all  that  could  be  said  on  the  subject,  and  much  more  than  I  supposed 
could  have  been  said  by  any  man  in  favor  of  his  resolution — whether 
he,  himself,  has  not  furnished  an  answer  to  his  speech.  I  had  not 
the  happiness  myself  to  hear  his  speech,  but  a  friend  has  read  it  to 
me — in  one  of  the  arguments  in  that  speech,  towards  the  conclusion, 
I  think,  of  his  speech,  the  gentleman  lays  down  from  Puffendorff,  in 
reference  to  the  honeyed  words  and  pious  professions  of  the  Holy  Al- 
liance, that  these  are  all  surplusage,  because  nations  are  always  sup- 
posed to  be  ready  to  do  what  justice  and  national  law  require.  Well, 
sir,  if  this  be  so,  why  may  not  the  Greeks  presume — why  are  they 
not  in  this  principle,  bound  to  presume — that  this  Government  is  dis- 
posed to  do  all,  in  reference  to  them,  that  they  ought  to  do,  without 
any  formal  resolutions  to  that  effect  ?  I  ask  the  gentleman  from  Mas- 
sachusetts, whether  the  doctrine  of  Puffendorff  does  not  apply  as 
strongly  to  the  resolution  as  to  the  declaration  of  the  Allies — that  is. 
if  the  resolution  of  the  gentleman  be  indeed  that  almost  nothing  he 
would  have  us  suppose,  if  there  be  not  something  behind  this  nothing, 
which  divides  this  House,  (not  JiorizontaUy,  as  the  gentleman  has 
somewhat  quaintly  said — but  vertically)  into  two  unequal  parties:  one 
the  advocate  of  a  splendid  system  of  crusades,  the  other,  the  friends 
of  peace  and  harmony ;  the  advocates  of  a  fireside  policy — for,  as 
long  as  all  is  right  at  the  fireside,  there  cannot  be  much  wrong  else- 
where— whether,  I  repeat,  does  not  the  doctrine  of  Puffendorff  apply 
as  w'ell  to  the  words  of  the  resolution,  as  to  the  words  of  the  Holy 
Alliance? 

"  There  was  another  remark  that  fell  from  the  gentleman  from 
Massachusetts — of  which  I  shall  speak,  as  I  shall  always  speak  of 
any  thing  from  that  gentleman,  with  all  the  personal  respect  that 
may  be  consistent  with  the  freedom  of  discussion.  Among  other 
cases  forcibly  put  by  the  gentleman,  why  he  would  embark  in  this 
incipient  crusade  against  Mussulmen,  he  stated  this  as  one — that  they 
hold  human  beings  as  property.  Aye,  sir, — and  what  says  the  Con- 
stitution of  the  United  States  on  this  point? — unless,  indeed,  that 
instrument  is  wholly  to  be  excluded  from  consideration — unless  it  is 


EIGHTEENTH  CONGRESS.  199 

to  be  regarded  as  a  mere  useless  parchment,  worthy  to  be  burnt,  as 
was  once  actually  proposed.  Does  not  that  Constitution  give  its  sanc- 
tion to  the  holding  of  human  beings  as  property  1  Sir,  I  am  not  go- 
ing to  discuss  the  abstract  question  of  liberty  or  slavery,  or  any  other 
abstract  question.  I  go  for  matters  of  fact.  But  I  would  ask  gen- 
tlemen in  this  House,  who  have  the  misfortune  to  reside  on  the 
wrong  side  of  a  certain  mysterious  parallel  of  latitude,  to  take  this 
question  seriously  into  consideration — whether  the  Government  of  the 
United  States  is  prepared  to  say,  that  the  act  of  holding  human  be- 
ings as  property,  is  sufficient  to  place  the  party  so  oifending,  under 
the  ban  of  its  high  and  mighty  displeasure  ? 

-  Sir,  I  am  afraid,  that,  along  with  some  most  excellent  attributes 
and  qualities — the  love  of  liberty,  jury  trial,  the  writ  of  habeas  cor- 
pus, and  all  the  blessings  of  free  government  we  have  derived  from 
our  Anglo-Saxon  ancestors,  we  have  got  not  a  little  of  their  John 
Bull,  or  rather  John  Bull-dog  spirit — their  readiness  to  fight  for  any 
body,  and  on  any  occasion.  Sir,  England  has  been  for  centuries  the 
game-cock  of  Europe.  It  is  impossible  to  specify  the  wars  in  which 
she  has  been  engaged  for  contrary  purposes  ;  and  she  will  with  great 
pleasure,  see  us  take  off  her  shoulders  the  labor  of  preserving  the 
balance  of  power.  We  find  her  fighting,  now  for  the  Queen  of  Hun- 
gary— then  for  her  inveterate  foe,  the  King  of  Prussia — now  at  war 
for  the  restoration  of  the  Bourbons — and  now  on  the  eve  of  war  with 
them  for  the  liberties  of  Spain. 

"  These  lines  on  the  subject,  were  never  more  applicable,  than  they 
have  now  become : 

"  '  Now  Europe's  balanced — neither  side  prevails. 
For  nothing's  left  in  either  of  the  scales.' 

"  If  we  pursue  the  same  policy,  we  must  travel  the  same  road,  and 
endure  the  same  burthens,  under  which  England  now  groans.  But. 
glorious  as  such  a  design  might  be,  a  President  of  the  United  States 
would,  in  my  apprehension,  occupy  a  prouder  place  in  history,  who. 
when  he  retires  from  office,  can  say  to  the  people  who  elected  him,  I 
leave  you  without  a  debt,  than  if  he  had  fought  as  many  pitched  bat- 
tles as  Caesar,  or  achieved  as  many  naval  victories  as  Nelson.  And 
what,  sir,  is  debt  1  In  an  individual  it  is  slavery.  It  is  slavery  of 
the  worst  sort,  surpassing  that  of  the  West  India  Islands,  for  it  en- 
slaves the  mind,  as  well  as  it  enslaves  the  body  :  and  the  creature  who 
can  be  abject  enough  to  incur  and  to  submit  to  it,  receives,  in  that  condi- 
tion of  his  being,  perhaps,  an  adequate  punishment.  Of  course,  I  speak 
of  debt,  with  the  exception  of  unavoidable  misfortune.  I  speak  of 
debt  caused  by  mismanagement,  by  unwarrantable  generosity,  by  being 
generous  before  being  just.  I  am  aware  that  this  sentiment  was  ridi- 
culed by  Sheridan,  whose  lamentable  end  was  the  best  commentary 
upon  its  truth.     No.  sir  ;   let  us  abandon  these  projects.     Let  us  say 


200  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

to  those  seven  millions  of  Greeks,  '  We  defended  ourselves  when  we 
were  but  three  millions,  against  a  power,  in  comparison  with  which 
the  Turk  is  but  a  lamb.  Go  and  do  thou  likewise.'  And  so  with 
the  governments  of  South  America.  If,  after  having  achieved  their 
independence,  they  have  not  valor  to  maintain  it,  I  would  not  commit 
the  safety  and  independence  of  this  country  in  such  a  cause.  I  will, 
in  both  these,  pursue  the  same  line  of  conduct  which  I  have  ever  pur- 
sued, from  the  day  I  took  a  seat  in  this  House,  in  1799,  from  which, 
without  boasting,  I  challenge  any  gentleman  to  fix  upon  me  any  color- 
able charge  of  departure. 

"  Let  us  adhere  to  the  policy  laid  down  by  the  second  as  well  as 
the  first  founder  of  our  republic — by  him  who  was  the  Camillus,  as 
well  as  Romulus,  of  the  infant  State — to  the  policy  of  peace,  com- 
merce, and  honest  friendship  with  all  nations,  entangling  alliances 
with  none  ;  for  to  entangling  alliances  we  must  come,  if  you  once  em- 
bark in  policy  such  as  this.  And,  with  all  my  British  predilections, 
I  suspect  I  shall,  whenever  that  question  shall  present  itself,  resist 
as  strongly  an  alliance  with  Great  Britain,  as  with  any  other  power. 
We  are  sent  here  to  attend  to  the  preservation  of  the  peace  of  this 
country,  and  not  to  be  ready,  on  all  occasions,  to  go  to  war,  whenever 
any  thing  like  what,  in  common  parlance,  is  termed  a  turn  up,  takes 
place  in  Europe. 

"  What,  sir,  is  our  condition  ?  We  are  absolutely  combatting 
shadows.  The  gentleman  would  have  us  to  believe  his  resolution  is 
all  but  nothing ;  yet,  again,  it  is  to  prove  omnipotent,  and  fill  the 
whole  globe  with  its  influence.  Either  it  is  nothing,  or  it  is  some- 
thing. If  it  be  nothing,  let  it  return  to  its  original  nothingness  ; 
let  us  lay  it  on  the  table,  and  have  done  with  it  at  once ;  but,  if  it  is 
that  something,  which  it  has  been  on  the  other  hand  represented  to 
be,  let  us  beware  how  we  touch  it.  For  my  part,  I  would  sooner  put 
the  shirt  of  Nessus  on  my  back  than  sanction  these  doctrines — doc- 
trines such  as  I  never  heard  from  my  boyhood  till  now.  They  go 
the  whole  length.  If  they  prevail,  there  are  no  longer  any  Pyre- 
nees ;  every  bulwark  and  barrier  of  the  Constitution  is  broken  down  ; 
it  is  become  tabula  rasa,  a  carte  blanche,  for  everv  one  to  scribble  on 
it  what  he  pleases." 

The  resolutions  were  laid  on  the  table,  never  afterwards  to  be 
called  up. 


INTERNAL  IMPROVEMENTS.  201 

CHAPTER    XXIII. 

INTERNAL   IMPROVEMENTS. 

Immediately  after  the  close  of  the  foregoing  debate,  within  a  few  days, 
there  followed  a  discussion  on  an  appropriation  to  defray  the  expenses  of 
a  survey  of  the  country,  with  reference  to  an  extended  and  connected 
scheme  of  roads  and  canals.  But  two  years  previous,  May,  1822.  Mr. 
Monroe  had  demonstrated,  in  the  most  elaborate  manner,  the  unconsti- 
tutionality of  any  system  of  internal  improvement  by  the  Federal  Gov- 
ernment. Having  duly  considered  the  bill,  entitled  "  An  act  for  the 
preservation  and  repair  of  the  Cumberland  Road,"  he  returned  it 
to  the  House  of  Representatives,  in  which  it  originated,  under  the 
conviction  that  Congress  did  not  possess  the  power,  under  the  Con- 
stitution, to  pass  such  a  law. 

A  power  to  establish  turnpikes,  with  gates  and  tolls,  and  to  enforce 
the  collection  of  the  tolls  by  penalties,  implies  a  power  to  adopt 
and  execute  a  complete  system  of  internal  improvement.  Mr.  Mon- 
roe contended  that  Congress  did  not  possess  this  power — that  the 
States  individually  could  not  grant  it.  If  the  power  exist,  it  must 
be  either  because  it  has  been  specifically  granted  to  the  United  States, 
or  that  it  is  incidental  to  some  power  which  has  been  specifically 
granted.  It  has  never  been  contended  that  the  power  was  specifi- 
cally granted.  It  is  claimed  only  as  being  incidental  to  some  one  or 
more  of  the  powers  that  are  specifically  granted. 

The  following  are  the  powers  from  which  it  is  said  to  be  derived ; 
1st.  From  the  right  to  establish  post-offices  and  post-roads.  2d.  From 
the  right  to  declare  war.  3d.  To  regulate  commerce.  4th.  To  pay 
the  debts,  and  provide  for  the  common  defence  and  general  welfare. 
5th.  From  the  power  to  make  all  laws  necessary  and  proper  for  car- 
rying into  execution  all  the  powers  vested  by  the  Constitution  in  the 
Government  of  the  United  States.  6th.  From  the  power  to  dispose 
of,  and  make  all  needful  rules  and  regulations  respecting  the  territory 
and  other  property  of  the  United  States. 

Mr.  Monroe  took  up  the  power  thus  claimed,  and  by  a  most 
extended    and   elaborate  review  of   the  history  and   the   principles 

VOL.  II.  9* 


202  LIFE  0F  J0HN  RANDOLPH. 

of  the  Constitution,  demonstrated  that  it  could  not  he  derived 
from  either  of  those  powers  specified,  nor  from  all  of  them  united, 
and  that  in  eonsecpience  it  did  not  exist. 

These  views,  so  distinct  and  unequivocal,  were  set  forth  by  Mr. 
Monroe  on  the  4th  of  May,  1822,  in  a  special  message,  addressed  to 
Congress.  In  December,  1823,  a  bill  was  introduced  into  the  House 
of  Representatives,  by  which  the  President  of  the  United  States  was 
authorized  to  cause  the  necessary  surveys,  plans,  and  estimates  to 
be  made,  of  the  routes  of  such  roads  and  canals  as  he  may  deem  of 
national  importance,  in  a  commercial  or  military  point  of  view,  or 
necessary  for  the  transportation  of  the  public  mail.  This  bill,  it  was 
understood,  contemplated  a  scheme  of  internal  improvement  on  the 
most  extended  scale ;  as  such,  it  was  discussed  and  voted  upon. 
The  debate  was  long,  and  was  ably  conducted.  Mr.  Clay,  as  usual, 
was  the  great  champion  of  this  as  of  all  the  other  brilliant  schemes 
of  the  day.  It  was  natural,  therefore,  that  he  and  Randolph  should 
come  in  collision  on  all  occasions.  The  one  was  the  bold  leader  of  a 
new  school  of  politicians,  sprung  up  out  of  the  ruins  of  the  old  Ham- 
iltonian  dynasty,  who  by  interpolation  or  construction  made  the  Con- 
stitution mean  any  thing  and  every  thing  their  ardent  minds  chose 
to  aspire  to.  The  other  was  the  clear-sighted,  consistent,  and  up- 
right statesman,  that  stood  by  the  old  landmarks  of  republicanism, 
as  they  were  laid  down  by  the  fathers  of  the  faith ;  and  never  could 
be  induced  to  depart  from  them  by  the  hope  of  reward  or  the  fear 
of  denunciation.  They  were  the  Lucifer  and  the  Michael  of  contend- 
ing hosts : 

"Now  waved  their  fiery  swords,  and  in  the  air 
Made  horrid  circles :  two  broad  suns  their  shields 
Blaz'd  opposite,  while  expectation  stood 
In  horror ;  from  each  hand  with  speed  retir'd 
Where  erst  was  thickest  fight,  the  angelic  throng, 
And  left  large  field ;  unsafe  within  the  wind 
Of  such  commotion." 

Or,  Randolph,  rather,  was  the  faithful  Abdiel — 

"  Nor  number,  nor  example  with  him  wrought 
To  swerve  from  truth,  or  change  his  constant  mind, 
Though  single.     From  amidst  them  forth  he  passed, 
And  with  retorted  scorn  his  back  he  turned 
On  those  proud  towers  to  swift  destruction  doomed.1' 


INTERNAL  IMPROVEMENTS.  203 

Mr.  Randolph,  on  the  31st  of  January,  1824,  delivered  his  senti- 
ments at  large  on  the  bill.  The  reader  must  here  also  be  content 
with  a  few  paragraphs  : 

'•  During  no  very  short  course  of  public  life,"  said  Mr.  R,.,  "  I  do 
not  know  that  it  has  ever  been  my  fortune  to  rise  under  as  much  em- 
barrassment, or  to  address  the  House  with  as  much  repugnance  as 
I  now  feel.  That  repugnance,  in  part,  grows  out  of  the  necessity  that 
exists  for  my  taking  some  notice,  in  the  course  of  my  observations, 
of  the  argument,  if  argument  it  may  be  called,  of  an  honorable  mem- 
ber of  this  House,  from  Kentucky.  And,  although  I  have  not  the 
honor  to  know,  personally,  or  even  by  name,  a  large  portion  of  the 
members  of  this  House,  it  is  not  necessary  for  me  to  indicate  the 
cause  of  that  repugnance.  But  this  I  may  venture  to  promise  the 
committee,  that,  in  my  notice  of  the  argument  of  that  member,  I 
shall  show,  at  least,  as  much  deference  to  it,  as  he  showed  to  the 
message  of  the  President  of  the  United  States  of  America,  on  re- 
turning a  bill  of  a  nature  analogous  to  that  now  before  us — I  say  at 
least  as  much;  I  should  regret  if  not  more.  With  the  argument  of 
the  President,  however,  I  have  nothing  to  do.  I  wash  my  hands  of 
it,  and  will  leave  it  to  the  triumph,  the  clemency,  the  mercy  of  the 
honorable  gentleman  of  Kentucky — if,  indeed,  to  use  his  own  lan- 
guage, amid  the  mass  of  words  in  which  it  is  enveloped,  he  has  been 
able  to  find  it.  My  purpose  in  regard  to  the  argument  of  the  gen- 
tleman from  Kentucky  is,  to  show  that  it  lies  in  the  compass  of  a 
nut-shell ;  that  it  turns  on  the  meaning  of  one  of  the  plainest  words 
in  the  English  language.  I  am  happy  to  be  able  to  agree  with  that 
gentleman  in  at  least  one  particular,  to  wit :  in  the  estimate  the  gen- 
tleman has  formed  of  his  own  powers  as  a  grammarian,  philologer, 
and  critic ;  particularly  as  those  powers  have  been  displayed  in  the 
dissertation  with  which  he  has  favored  the  committee  on  the  inter- 
pretation of  the  word  establish. 

"  '  Congress,'  says  the  Constitution,  '  shall  have  power  to  establish 
(ergo,  says  the  gentleman,  Congress  shall  have  power  to  construct) 
post-roads.' 

"  One  would  suppose,  that,  if  any  thing  could  be  considered  as 
settled,  by  precedent  in  legislation,  the  meaning  of  the  words  of  the 
Constitution  must,  before  this  time,  have  been  settled,  by  the  uniform 
sense  in  which  that  power  has  been  exercised,  from  the  commence- 
ment of  the  Government  to  the  present  time.  What  is  the  fact? 
Your  statute-book  is  loaded  with  acts  for  the  '  establishment'  of  post- 
roads,  and  the  post-master  general  is  deluged  with  petitions  for  the 
■  establishment'  of  post-offices  ;  and  yet,  we  are  now  gravely  debating 
on  what  the  word  '  establish'  shall  be  held  to  mean  !  A  curious  pre- 
dicament we  are  placed  in  :  precisely  the  reverse  of  that  of  Moliere's 


204  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

citizen  turned  gentleman,  who  discovered,  to  his  great  surprise,  that 
he  had  been  talking  '  prose'  all  his  life  long  without  knowing  it.  A 
common  case.  It  is  just  so  with  all  prosers,  and  I  hope  I  may  not 
exemplify  it  in  this  instance.  But,  sir,  we  have  been  for  five  and 
thirty  years  establishing  post-roads,  under  the  delusion  that  we  were 
exercising  a  power  specially  conferred  upon  us  by  the  Constitution, 
while  we  were,  according  to  the  suggestion  of  the  gentleman  from 
Kentucky,  actually  committing  treason,  by  refusing,  for  so  long  a 
time,  to  carry  into  effect  that  very  article  of  the  Constitution  ! 

"  To  forbear  the  exercise  of  a  power  vested  in  us  for  the  public 
good,  not  merely  for  our  own  aggrandizement,  is.  according  to  the 
argument  of  the  gentleman  from  Kentucky,  treachery  to  the  Consti- 
tution !  I,  then,  sir,  must  have  commenced  my  public  life  in  trea- 
son, and  in  treason  am  I  doomed  to  end  it.  One  of  the  first  votes 
that  I  ever  had  the  honor  to  give,  in  this  House,  was  a  vote  against 
the  establishment,  if  gentlemen  please,  of  a  uniform  system  of  bank- 
ruptcy— a  power  as  uncpuestionably  given  to  Congress,  by  the  Consti- 
tution, as  the  power  to  lay  a  direct  tax.  But,  sir.  my  treason  did 
not  end  there.  About  two  years  after  the  establishment  of  this  uni- 
form system  of  bankruptcy,  I  was  particeps  criminis,  with  almost 
the  unanimous  voice  of  this  House,  in  committing  another  act  of 
treachery  in  repealing  it ;  and  Mr.  Jefferson,  the  President  of  the 
United  States,  in  the  commencement  of  his  career,  consummated  the 
treason  by  putting  his  signature  to  the  act  of  repeal. 

"  Miserable,  indeed,  would  be  the  condition  of  every  free  people, 
if,  in  expounding  the  charter  of  their  liberties,  it  were  necessary  to  go 
back  to  the  Anglo-Saxon,  to  Junius  and  Skinner,  and  other  black- 
letter  etymologists.  Not,  sir,  that  I  am  very  skilful  in  language : 
although  I  have  learned  from  a  certain  curate  of  Brentford,  whose 
name  will  survive  when  the  whole  contemporaneous  bench  of  Bishops 
shall  be  buried  in  oblivion,  that  words — the  counters  of  wise  men, 
the  money  of  fools — that  it  is  by  the  dexterous  cutting  and  shuffling 
of  this  pack,  that  is  derived  one-half  of  the  chicanery,  and  much 
more  than  one-half  of  the  profits  of  the  most  lucrative  profession  in 
the  world — and,  sir,  by  this  dexterous  exchanging  and  substituting 
of  words,  we  shall  not  be  the  first  nation  in  the  world  which  has 
been  cajoled,  if  we  are  to  be  cajoled,  out  of  our  rights  and  liberties. 

'•  In  the  course  of  the  observations  which  the  gentleman  from 
Kentucky  saw  fit  to  submit  to  the  committee,  were  some  pathetic 
ejaculations  on  the  subject  of  the  sufferings  of  our  brethren  of  the 
West.  Sir,  our  brethren  of  the  West  have  suffered,  as  our  brethren 
throughout  the  United  States,  from  the  same  cause,  although  wTith 
them  the  cause  exists  in  an  aggravated  degree,  from  the  acts  of  those 
to  whom  they  have  confided  the  power  of  legislation ;  by  a  departure — 
and  we  have  all  suffered  from  it — I  hope  no  gentleman  will  under- 


INTERNAL  IMPROVEMENTS.  205 

stand  me,  as  wishing  to  make  any  invidious  comparison  between  dif- 
ferent quarters  of  our  country,  by  a  departure  from  the  industry,  the 
simplicity,  the  economy,  and  the  frugality  of  our  ancestors.  They 
have  suffered  from  a  greediness  of  gain,  that  has  grasped  at  the  sha- 
dow while  it  has  lost  the  substance — from  habits  of  indolence,  of  pro- 
fusion, of  extravagance — from  an  aping  of  foreign  manners  and  of 
foreign  fashions — from  a  miserable  attempt  at  the  shabby  genteel, 
which  only  serve  to  make  our  poverty  more  conspicuous.  The  way  to 
remedy  this  state  of  suffering,  is,  to  return  to  those  habits  of  labor 
and  industry,  from  which  we  have  thus  departed." 

'•  With  these  few  remarks,"  continued  Mr.  B.,  -permit  me  now  to 
recall  the  attention  of  the  committee  to  the  original  design  of  this 
Government.  It  grew  out  of  the  necessity,  indispensable  and  un- 
avoidable, in  the  circumstances  of  this  country,  of  some  general 
power,  capable  of  regulating  foreign  commerce.  Sir,  I  am  old 
enough  to  remember  the  origin  of  this  Government  ;  and,  though  I 
was  too  young  to  participate  in  the  transactions  of  the  day,  I  have  a 
perfect  recollection  of  what  was  public  sentiment  on  the  subject. 
And  I  repeat,  without  fear  of  contradiction,  that  the  proximate,  as 
well  as  the  remote  cause  of  the  existence  of  the  federal  government, 
was  the  regulation  of  foreign  commerce.  Not  to  particularize  all  the 
difficulties  which  grew  out  of  the  conflicting  laws  of  the  States,  Mr. 
B.  referred  to  but  one,  arising  from  Virginia  taxing  an  article 
which  Maryland  then  made  duty-free ;  and  to  that  very  policy,  may 
be  attributed,  in  a  great  degree,  the  rapid  growth  and  prosperity  of 
the  town  of  Baltimore.  If  the  old  Congress  had  possessed  the  power 
of  laying  a  duty  of  ten  per  cent,  ad  valorem  on  imports,  this  Consti- 
tution would  never  have  been  called  into  existence. 

"  But  we  are  told  that,  along  with  the  regulation  of  foreign  com- 
merce, the  States  have  yielded  to  the  General  Government,  in  as 
broad  terms,  the  regulation  of  domestic  commerce — I  mean  the  com- 
merce among  the  several  States — and  that  the  same  power  is  possessed 
by  Congress  over  the  one  as  over  the  other.  It  is  rather  unfortunate 
for  this  argument,  that,  if  it  applies  to  the  extent  to  which  the  power 
to  regulate  foreign  commerce  has  been  carried  by  Congress,  they 
may  prohibit  altogether  this  domestic  commerce,  as  they  have  here- 
tofore, under  the  other  power,  prohibited  foreign  commerce. 

•;  But  why  put  extreme  cases?  This  Government  cannot  go  on 
one  day  without  a  mutual  understanding  and  deference  between  the 
State  and  General  Governments.  This  Government  is  the  breath  of 
the  nostrils  of  the  States.  Gentlemen  may  say  what  they  please  of 
the  preamble  to  the  Constitution  ;  but  this  Constitution  is  not  the 
work  of  the  amalgamated  population  of  the  then  existing  confede- 
racy, but  the  offspring  of  the  States  ;  and  however  high  we  may 
carry  our  heads  and  strut  and  fret  our  hour  '  dressed  in  a  little  brief 


206  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

authority,'  it  is  in  the  power  of  the  States  to  extinguish  this  Govern- 
ment at  a  blow.  They  have  only  to  refuse  to  send  members  to  the 
other  branch  of  the  legislature,  or  to  appoint  electors  of  President 
and  Vice-President,  and  the  thing  is  done.  Gentlemen  will  not  un- 
derstand me  as  seeking  for  reflections  of  this  kind  ;  but.  like  Fal- 
staff's  rebellion — I  mean  Worcester's  rebellion — they  lay  in  my  way 
and  I  found  them." 

"  I  remember  to  have  heard  it  said  elsewhere,"  said  Mr.  R.,  "  that 
when  gentlemen  talk  of  precedent,  they  forget  they  were  not  in  West- 
minster Hall.  Whatever  trespass  I  may  be  guilty  of  upon  the  atten- 
tion of  the  Committee,  one  thing  I  will  promise  them,  and  will  faith- 
fully perform  my  promise.  I  will  dole  out  to  them  no  political  meta- 
physics. Sir,  I  unlearned  metaphysics  almost  as  early  as  Fontenelle, 
and  he  tells  us,  I  think,  it  was  at  nine  years  old.  I  shall  say  nothing 
about  that  word  municipal.  I  am  almost  as  sick  of  it  as  honest  Fal- 
staif  was  of  '  security  ;'  it  has  been  like  ratsbane  in  my  mouth,  ever 
since  the  late  ruler  in  France  took  shelter  under  that  word  to  pocket 
our  money  and  incarcerate  our  persons,  with  the  most  profound 
respect  for  our  neutral  rights.  I  have  done  with  the  word  municipal 
ever  since  that  day.  Let  us  come  to  the  plain  common  sense  con- 
struction of  the  Constitution.  Sir,  we  live  under  a  government  of  a 
peculiar  structure,  to  which  the  doctrines  of  the  European  writers  on 
civil  polity  do  not  apply  ;  and  when  gentlemen  get  up  and  quote 
Vattel  as  applicable  to  the  powers  of  the  Constitution  of  the  United 
States,  I  should  as  soon  have  expected  them  to  quote  Aristotle  or  the 
Koran.  Our  Government  is  not  like  the  consolidated  monarchies  of 
the  old  world.  It  is  a  solar  system  ;  an  imperium  in  imperio  ;  and 
when  the  question  is  about  the  one  or  the  other,  what  belong  to  the 
imperium  and  what  to  the  imperio,  we  gain  nothing  by  referring  to 
Vattel.  He  treats  of  an  integral  government — a  compact  structure, 
totus  teres  atque  rotundus.  But  ours  is  a  system  composed  of  two  dis- 
tinct governments ;  the  one  general  in  its  nature,  the  other  internal. 
Now,  sir,  a  government  may  be  admirable  for  external,  and  yet  exe- 
crable for  internal  purposes.  And  when  the  question  of  power  in  the 
government  arises,  this  is  the  problem  which  every  honest  man  has 
to  work.  The  powers  of  government  are  divided  in  our  system  be- 
tween the  General  and  State  Governments,  except  such  powers  which 
the  people  have  very  wisely  retained  to  themselves.  With  these 
exceptions,  all  the  power  is  divided  between  the  two  Governments. 
The  given  power  will  not  lie  unless,  as  in  the  case  of  direct  taxes, 
the  power  is  specifically  given  ;  and  even  then  the  State  has  a  con- 
current power.  The  question  for  every  honest  man  to  ask  himself 
is,  to  which  of  these  two  divisions  of  government  does  the  power  in 
contest  belong  %  This  is  the  problem  we  have  to  settle:  Does  this 
power  of  internal  improvement  belong  to  the  General  or  to  the  State 


INTERNAL  IMPROVEMENTS.  207 

Governments,  or  is  it  a  concurrent  power  ?  Gentlemen  say  we  have,  by 
the  Constitution,  power  to  establish  post-roads  ;  and.  having  established 
post-roads,  we  should  be  much  obliged  to  you  to  allow  us  therefore  the 
power  to  construct  roads  and  canals  into  the  bargain.  If  I  had  the  phy- 
sical strength,  sir,  I  could  easily  demonstrate  to  the  committee  that, 
supposing  the  power  to  exist  on  our  part,  of  all  the  powers  that  can  be 
exercised  by  this  House,  there  is  no  power  that  would  be  more  sus- 
ceptible of  abuse  than  this  very  power.  Figure  to  yourself  a  commit- 
tee of  this  House  determining  on  some  road,  and  giving  out  the  con- 
tracts to  the  members  of  both  Houses  of  Congress,  or  to  their  friends, 
&c.  Sir.  if  I  had  strength,  I  could  show  to  this  committee  that  the 
Asiatic  plunder  of  Leadenhall  street  has  not  been  more  corrupting 
to  the  British  Government  than  the  exercise  of  such  a  power  as  this 
would  prove  to  us. 

'•  I  said,"  continued  Mr.  R.,  "  that  this  Government,  if  put  to  the 
test — a  test  it  is  by  no  means  calculated  to  endure — as  a  government 
for  the  management  of  the  internal  concerns  of  this  country,  is  one 
of  the  worst  that  can  be  conceived,  which  is  determined  by  the  fact 
that  it  is  a  government  not  having  a  common  feeling  and  common 
interest  with  the  governed.  I  know  that  we  are  told — and  it  is  the 
first  time  the  doctrine  has  been  openly  avowed — that  upon  the  res- 
ponsibility of  this  House  to  the  people,  by  means  of  the  elective  fran- 
chise, depends  all  the  security  of  the  people  of  the  United  States 
against  the  abuse  of  the  powers  of  this  Government. 

"  But,  sir,  how  shall  a  man  from  Mackinaw,  or  the  Yellow  Stone 
River,  respond  to  the  sentiments  of  the  people  who  live  in  New  Hamp- 
shire 1  It  is  as  great  a  mockery — a  greater  mockery  than  it  was  to 
talk  to  these  colonies  about  their  virtual  representation  in  the  Bri- 
tish Parliament.  I  have  no  hesitation  in  sa}Ting  that  the  liberties  of 
the  colonies  were  safer  in  the  custody  of  the  British  Parliament  than 
they  will  be  in  any  portion  of  this  country,  if  all  the  powers  of  the 
States,  as  well  as  of  the  General  Government,  are  devolved  on  this 
House  ;  and  in  this  opinion  I  am  borne  out,  and  more  than  borne  out, 
by  the  authority  of  Patrick  Henry  himself. 

"  It  is  not  a  matter  of  conjecture  merely,  but  of  fact,  of  notoriety, 
that  there  does  exist  on  this  subject  an  honest  difference  of  opinion 
among  enlightened  men  ;  that  not  one  or  two.  but  many  States  in 
the  Union  see.  with  great  concern  and  alarm,  the  encroachments  of 
the  General  Government  on  their  authority.  They  feel  that  they 
have  given  up  the  power  of  the  sword  and  the  purse,  and  enabled 
men,  with  the  purse  in  one  hand  and  the  sword  in  the  other,  to 
rifle  them  of  all  they  hold  dear." "We  now  begin  to  per- 
ceive what  we  have  surrendered ;  that,  having  given  up  the  power  of 
the  purse  and  the  sword,  every  thing  else  is  at  the  mercy  and  for- 
bearance of  the  General  Government.     We  did  believe  there  were 


208  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

some  parchment  barriers — no  !  what  is  worth  all  the  parchment 
barriers  in  the  world — that  there  was,  in  the  powers  of  the  States, 
some  counterpoise  to  the  power  of  this  body  ;  but,  if  this  bill  passes, 
we  can  believe  so  no  longer." 

"  There  is  one  other  power,"  said  Mr.  R.,  "  which  may  be  exercised, 
in  case  the  power  now  contended  for  be  conceded,  to  which  I  ask  the 
attention  of  every  gentleman  who   happens  to  stand  in  the  same  un- 
fortunate predicament  with  myself — of  every  man  who  has  the  mis- 
fortune to  be.  and  to  have  been  born,  a  slaveholder.     If  Congress 
possess  the  power  to  do  what  is  proposed  by  this  bill,  they  may  not 
only  enact  a  sedition  law — for  there  is  precedent — but  they  may 
emancipate    every   slave    in   the   United  States,  and  with   stronger 
color  of  reason  than  they  can  exercise  the  power  now  contended  for. 
And  where  will  they  find  the  power  ?     They  may  follow  the  example 
of  the  gentlemen  who  have  preceded  me,  and  hook  the  power  upon 
the  first  loop  they  find  in  the  Constitution.     They  might  take  the 
preamble,  perhaps   the  war-making   power,   or   they   might   take    a 
greater  sweep,  and  say,  with  some  gentlemen,  that  it  is  not  to  be 
found  in  this  or  that  of  the  granted  powers,  but  results  from  all  of 
them,  which  is  not  only  a  dangerous,  but  tlie  most  dangerous  doctrine. 
Is  it  not  demonstrable  that  slave  labor  is  the  dearest  in  the  world, 
and  that  the  existence  of  a  large  body  of  slaves  is  a  source  of  danger  1 
Suppose  we  are  at  war  with  a  foreign  power,  and  freedom  should  be 
offered  them  by  Congress,  as  an  inducement  to  them  to  take  a  part  in 
it ;  or,  suppose  the  country  not  at  war,  at  every  turn  of  this  federal 
machine,  at  every  successive   census,  that  interest  will   find    itself 
governed  by  another  and   increasing  power,  which  is  bound  to  it 
neither  by  any  common  tie  of  interest  or  feeling.     And  if  ever  the 
time  shall  arrive,  as  assuredly  it  has  arrived  elsewhere,  and,  in  all 
probability,  may  arrive  here,  that  a  coalition  of  knavery  and  fanati- 
cism shall,  for  any  purpose,  be  got  up  on  this  floor,  I  ask  gentlemen 
who  stand  in   the  same  predicament  as  I  do,  to  look  well  to  what 
they  are  now  doing,  to  the  colossal  power  with  which  they  are  now 
arming  this  Grovernment.     The  power  to  do  what  I  allude  to  is,  I 
aver,  more  honestly  inferable  from  the  war-making  power  than  the 
power  we  are  now  about  to  exercise.     Let  them  look  forward  to  the 
time  when  such  a  question  shall  arise,  and  tremble  with  me  at  the 
thought  that  that  question  is  to  be  decided  by  a  majority  of  the 
votes  of  this   House,  of  whom  not  one  possesses  the  slightest  tie  of 
common  interest  or  of  common  feeling  with  us." 

The  debate  on  this  important  question  was  kept  up  ten  days 
longer.  On  the  10th  of  February,  Mr.  Randolph  moved  that  the 
bill  be  indefinitely  postponed.  The  motion  was  overruled,  and  the 
bill  was  passed  by  a  majority  of  1 15  to  86.     So  soon  as  the  vote  was 


SUPREME  COURT.  209 

announced,  it  was  moved  that  the  House  go  into  committee  of  the 
whole  on  the  state  of  the  Union,  with  a  view  of  taking  up  the  bill  for 
a  revision  of  the  tariff.  Mr.  Randolph  exclaimed, ':  Sufficient  for  the 
day  is  the  evil  thereof,"  and  hoped  that  the  House  would  do  no  such 
thing ;  they,  however,  did  go  into  committee,  and  made  some  pro- 
gress in  the  bill. 

The  measure  above  adopted  by  the  House,  was  sanctioned  by  the 
President,  thus  furnishing  another  instance  of  a  most  extraordinary 
and  flagrant  abandonment  of  first  principles,  on  a  vital  point  of  the 
Constitution.  Mr.  Madison's  arguments  as  to  the  unconstitution- 
ality of  the  Bank,  stand  unanswered  and  unanswerable  ;  yet,  in 
1816,  Mr.  Madison,  under  the  pressure  of  circumstances,  the  plea  of 
necessity,  and  the  force  of  precedent,  signed  the  Bank  bill. 

No  man  argued  more  clearly  and  conclusively  than  Mr.  Monroe 
the  unconstitutionality  of  a  system  of  internal  improvement ;  yet. 
under  the  influence  of  a  yielding  complacency,  that  was  reluctant  to 
oppose  the  encroaching  spirit  of  the  times,  he  sanctioned  a  measure 
that  adopted  the  system  in  its  broadest  sense,  and  swept  away  every 
barrier  of  the  Constitution. 


CHAPTER   XXIV. 

SUPREME   COURT — DULL   DINNER — HUDDLESFORD's   OAK. 

About  the  time  the  Roads  and  Canals  bill  was  discussed  in  the  House. 
a  case  was  argued  before  the  Supreme  Court,  involving  the  same  prin- 
ciples. Aaron  Ogden,  under  several  acts  of  the  Legislature  of  the 
State  of  New- York,  claimed  the  exclusive  navigation  of  all  the  waters 
within  the  jurisdiction  of  the  State,  with  boats  moved  by  fire  or 
steam.  Gibbons  employed  two  steamboats  in  running  between  Eliz- 
abethtown,  New  Jersey,  and  New-York,  in  violation  of  the  exclusive 
privilege.  He  was  enjoined  by  the  Chancellor  of  New-York,  and 
in  his  answers  stated,  that  the  boats  were  enrolled  and  licensed,  to  be 
employed  in  carrying  on  the  coasting  trade,  under  the  acts  of  Con- 


210  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

gress — and  insisted  on  his  right,  in  virtue  of  such  licenses,  to  navi- 
gate the  waters  between  Elizabethtown  and  the  city  of  New-York, 
the  acts  of  the  legislature  of  the  State  of  New- York  to  the  contrary 
notwithstanding. 

The  question  was,  whether  the  laws  of  Congress,  passed  in  virtue 
of  the  clause  of  the  Constitution  which  confers  on  them  the  power 
to  regulate  commerce  among  the  several  States,  shall  contravene  and 
supersede  the  laws  of  New-York,  granting  a  monopoly  to  certain  indi- 
viduals to  navigate  steam  vessels  on  the  waters  within  the  jurisdic- 
tion of  that  State. 

The  whole  controversy  turned  on  the  interpretation  of  this  clause 
of  the  Constitution — "  Congress  shall  have  power  to  regulate  com- 
merce with  foreign  nations,  and  among  the  several  States,  and  with 
the  Indian  tribes." 

The  Chief  Justice,  to  arrive  at  his  conclusions,  took  the  broadest 
latitude  of  construction.  "  It  has  been  said,  argues  he,  that  these 
powers"  (powers  enumerated  in  the  Constitution)  "  ought  to  be  con- 
strued strictly.  But  why  ought  they  to  be  so  construed  ?  Is  there 
one  sentence  in  the  Constitution  which  gives  countenance  to  this 
rule  ?  In  the  last  of  the  enumerated  powers,  that  which  grants  ex- 
pressly the  means  for  carrying  all  others  into  execution,  Congress  is 
authorized  '  to  make  all  laws  which  shall  be  necessary  and  proper'  for 
the  purpose."  With  this  broad  principle  as  his  rule  of  construction, 
he  then  goes  on  to  argue  that  the  power  to  regulate  commerce  with 
foreign  nations,  is  full  and  absolute — and  that  it  embraces  the  right 
to  regulate  navigation.  The  next  step  is  to  prove  that  the  power  to 
regulate  commerce  among  the  States  is  as  broad  and  comprehensive 
as  the  power  to  regulate  it  with  foreign  nations.  "  Commerce  among 
the  States,"  says  he,  "  cannot  stop  at  the  external  boundary  line  of 

each  State,  but  may  be  introduced  into  the  interior." "  The 

genius  and  character  of  the  whole  Government  seem  to  be,  that  its 
action  is  to  be  applied  to  all  the  external  concerns  of  the  nation,  and 
to  those  internal  concerns  which  affect  the  States  generally."  .... 
"  Commerce  among  the  States  must,  of  necessity,  be  commerce 
with  the  States.  In  the  regulation  of  trade  with  the  Indian  tribes, 
the  action  of  the  law,  especially  when  the  Constitution  was  made, 
was  chiefly  within  a  State.  The  power  of  Congress,  then,  whatever 
it  may  be,  must  be  exercised  within  the  territorial  jurisdiction  of  the 


SUPREME  COURT.  211 

several  States."  .  .  .  .  "  This  power,  like  all  others  vested  in  Con- 
gress, is  complete  in  itself,  may  be  exercised  to  its  utmost  extent,  and 
acknowledges  no  limitations,  other  than  are  prescribed  in  the  Consti- 
tution."   "  The  power  of  Congress,  then,  comprehends  navi- 
gation within  the  limits  of  every  State  in  the  Union,  so  far  as 
that  navigation  may  be,  in  any  manner,  connected  with  '  commerce 
with  foreign  nations,  or  among  the  several  States,  or  with  the  Indian 
tribes.'  " 

He  goes  on  to  apply  these  principles — self  evident  axioms  as  he 
called  them — to  the  case  before  the  Court,  and  decided  against  the 
exclusive  privilege  of  navigation  granted  by  the  laws  and  sustained 
by  the  Judiciary  of  New-Yorl. 

In  conclusion,  the  Chief  Justice  says  :  ';  Powerful  and  ingenious 
minds,  taking,  as  postulates,  that  the  powers  expressly  granted  to  the 
government  of  the  Union,  are  to  be  contracted  by  construction  into  the 
narrowest  possible  compass,  and  that  the  original  powers  of  the  States 
are  retained,  if  any  possible  construction  will  retain  them,  may,  by  a 
course  of  well-digested,  but  refined  and  metaphysical  reasoning,  found- 
ed on  these  premises,  explain  away  the  Constitution  of  our  country, 
and  leave  it,  a  magnificent  structure  indeed  to  look  at,  but  totally 
unfit  for  use." 

But  the  Chief  Justice  did  not  perceive,  that,  by  pursuing  the 
broad  doctrines  laid  down  by  him,  the  several  departments  of  gov- 
ernment, especially  the  one  over  which  he  presided — the  Judiciary, 
whose  business  it  is  to  construe  and  interpret — might,  step  by  step, 
absorb  all  the  powers  reserved  to  the  States,  and  to  the  people,  and 
make  the  government  a  magnificent  structure  indeed,  not  merely  to 
look  at.  but  one  wielding  all  the  concentrated  powers  of  a  consoli- 
dated empire.  The  true  rule  is  to  go  neither  to  the  one  extreme  nor  to 
the  other,  but  to  give  to  each  and  to  all  that  which  rightfully  belongs 
to  them. 

This  opinion  of  the  Chief  Justice  gave  great  umbrage  to  the 
States-rights  men.  They  said  he  travelled  out  of  the  record,  to 
make  an  elaborate  argument  in  behalf  of  those  principles  which  wore 
then  urged  in  Congress  as  a  justification  of  a  general  system  of  in- 
ternal improvement  among  the  States. 

Mr.  Randolph  says  to  Dr.  Brockenbrough,  the  3d  of  March  : 

"  The  Chief  Justice  yesterday  delivered  a  most  able  opinion  in  the 


212  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

great  New-York  steamboat  case,  fatal  to  the  monopoly.  It  is  said  that 
he  decided  in  favor  of  the  power  of  the  General  Government  to  make 
internal  improvements,  but  I  don't  believe  it.  He  is  too  wise  a 
man  to  decide  any  point  not  before  his  court."  No  man  admired 
Marshall  more  than  John  Randolph ;  he  held  him  up,  as  the  reader 
knows,  as  a  model  to  the  young — to  the  world ;  but  he  did  not  let 
his  partiality  for  the  man  blind  his  judgment  as  to  the  dangerous 
doctrines  of  the  Judge.  When  he  had  read  "  the  opinion,"  he  says  : 
"  It  is  the  fashion  to  praise  the  Chief  Justice's  opinion  in  the  case  of 
Ogden  against  Gibbons.  But  you  know  I  am  not  a  fashionable  man ; 
I  think  it  is  unworthy  of  him.  Lord  Liverpool  has  set  him  an  ex- 
ample of  caution  in  the  last  speech  of  the  king :  one  that  shames  our 
gasconading  message.  I  said  it  was  ioo  long  before  I  read  it.  It 
contains  a  great  deal  that  has  no  business  there.  9r  indeed  any  where. 
Mr.  Webster's  phrase,  '  unit,'  which  he  adopts,  is  a  conceit  (concetto), 
and  a  very  poor  one,  borrowed  from  Dr.  Rush,  who  with  equal  reason 
pronounced  disease  to  be  a  unit.  Now,  as  this  theory  of  the  Doctor 
had  no  effect  whatever  upon  his  practice,  and  that  alone  could  affect  his 
patients,  it  was  so  far  a  harmless  maggot  of  the  brain.  But  when 
that  theory  was  imbibed  at  a  single  gulp  by  his  young  disciples, 
who  were  sent  out  annually  from  Philadelphia,  it  became  the  means 
of  death  not  to  units,  or  tens,  or  hundreds,  but  thousands,  and  tens 
of  thousands. 

"  A  judicial  opinion  should  decide  nothing  and  embrace  nothing 
that  is  not  before  the  court.  If  he  had  said  that  '  a  vessel,  having  the 
legal  evidence  that  she  has  conformed  to  the  regulations  which  Con- 
gress has  seen  fit  to  prescribe,  has  the  right  to  go  from  a  port  of  any 
State  to  a  port  of  any  other  with  freight  or  in  quest  of  it,  with  passen- 
gers or  in  quest  of  them,  non  obstante  such  a  law  as  that  of  the  State 
of  New- York  under  which  the  appellee  claims,'  I  should  have  been 
satisfied. 

"  However,  since  the  case  of  Cohen  vs.  Virginia,  I  am  done  with 
the  Supreme  Court.  No  one  admires  more  than  I  do  the  extraordi- 
nary powers  of  Marshall's  mind :  no  one  respects  more  his  amiable 
deportment  in  private  life.  He  is  the  most  unpretending  and  unas- 
suming of  men.  His  abilities  and  his  virtues  render  him  an  orna- 
ment not  only  to  Virginia,  but  to  our  nature.  I  cannot,  however, 
help  thinking,  that  he  was  too  long  at  the  bar  before  he  ascended  the 
bench  ;  and  that,  like  our  friend  T ,  he  had  injured,  by  the  indis- 
criminate defence  of  right  or  wrong,  the  tone  of  his  perception  (if  you 
will  allow  so  quaint  a  phrase)  of  truth  or  falsehood." 

John  Marshall  was,  "  after  the  most  straitest  sect,"  a  Federal- 
ist of  the  Hamilton  school.  The  reader,  doubtless,  well  remembers 
his  attempt  to  play  at  the  game  of  Diplomacy  with  Talleyrand,  and 


SUPREME  COURT. 


213 


the  figure  he  cut  in  the  X.  Y.  Z.  business.  Soon  after  his  return  to 
the  United  States  he  was  elected  a  member  of  Congress,  from  the 
Richmond  District,  in  the  spring  of  1799,  after  a  most  violent  and 
bitter  contest,  beating  John  Clopton.  the  old  republican  representa- 
tive. Mr.  Adams,  in  1800,  removed  Timothy  Pickering  from  the 
head  of  his  cabinet,  and  put  General  Marshall  in  his  place ;  and  in 
1  SO  1,  as  one  of  the  last  acts  of  his  administration,  made  him  Chief 
Justice  of  the  United  States. 

The  man  of  great  parts  and  of  upright  principles  will  perform 
justly  and  nobly  the  duties  of  whatever  station  he  may  be  placed  in. 
This  maxim  was  well  illustrated  by  Judge  Marshall.  As  a  partisan 
leader  he  was  bold,  fearless,  uncompromising,  and  devoted  to  the 
principles  of  the  cause  he  espoused.  When  elevated  to  the  Bench 
he  rose  serenely  above  all  party  influences,  and  became  the  enlight- 
ened, wise,  and  upright  Judge.  But  it  is  very  clear,  that  wherever 
the  powers  of  the  Federal  Government  were  concerned,  he  could  not 
rise  above  those  doctrines  which  had  been  so  thoroughly  inculcated 
on  his  mind.  His  federal  principles,  by  long  practice  and  thorough 
digestion,  had  so  completely  become  a  part  of  his  mental  system  as 
to  be  a  law  of  thought  on  all  questions  of  constitutional  interpreta- 
tion. The  tendency  of  the  Supreme  Court  is  now  to  the  opposite 
extreme.  The  system  of  judicial  reasoning,  like  all  other  moral  sys- 
tems built  on  the  laws  of  the  human  mind,  and  not  the  principles  of  an 
exact  science,  revolves  in  a  cycle  ;  and  in  a  series  of  years,  will  find 
itself  occupying  in  regular  succession  the  same  positions  which  it  had 
held  at  some  former  period.     The  mind  progresses,  but  it  is  in  a  circle. 

On  the  20th  of  March,  Mr.  Randolph  writes  to  his  friend  : 

"  Mr.  King  of  N.  Y.,  his  colleague,  Mr.  Chief  Justice,  Tazewell, 
and  some  three  or  four  more  dine  with  me  to-morrow,  so  that  I  shall 
have  good  company,  at  least,  if  not  a  good  dinner."  Two  days  after, 
he  says:  "  Mr.  Chief  Justice,  Tazewell,  Van  Buren,  Benton.  Morgan, 
of  N.  Y.,  and  George  Calvert,  dined  with  me  yesterday  (Mr.  King 
was  sick,  of  his  late  freak  in  the  Senate,  I  shrewdly  suspect)  ;  and 
your  '  fat  sail-ion  party'  was  hardly  more  dull  than  we  were.  The 
Chief  Justice  has  no  longer  the  power  '  d'etre  vif  Tazewell  took  to 
prosing  at  the  far  end  of  the  table  to  two  or  three,  who  formed  a  sort 
of  separate  coterie  ;  V.  B.  was  unwell,  and  out  of  spirits  ;  and  I  was 
obliged  to  get  nearly  or  quite  drunk,  to  keep  them  from  yawning 
outright." 


214  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

Mr.  Randolph  was  informed,  about  this  time,  that  Miss  Roane, 
the  daughter  of  the  late  Judge  Spencer  Roane,  was  expected  to  visit 
Washington. 

"  If  Miss  Roane,"  says  he,  "  should  honor  our  metropolis  with  her 
presence,  I  shall  make  it  a  point  to  call  upon  her — if  for  no  other 
cause,  from  the  very  high  respect  in  which  I  held  her  father  whilst 
living,  and  hold  his  memory,  being  dead.  I  consider  him  as  a  great 
loss  to  his  country,  not  only  in  his  judicial  character,  but  as  a 
statesman,  who  formed  a  rallying  point  for  the  friends  of  State-rights. 
Besides,  he  had  the  judgment  to  perceive,  and  the  candor  to  acknow- 
ledge, the  consistency  of  my  public  conduct  with  my  avowed  princi- 
ples ;  and  he  had  too  much  greatness  of  mind  to  lend  himself  to  the 
long  and  bitter  persecution  with  which  I  was  assailed  by  two  govern- 
ments, by  the  press,  by  a  triumphant  party  (many  of  whom  were  old 
sedition  law  federalists),  until,  Sertorius  like,  after  having  waged 
a  long  war  upon  my  own  resources,  I  was  vancpiished  as  much  by 
treachery  in  my  own  camp,  as  by  the  courage  or  the  conduct  of  the 
enemy  My  hopes  (plans,  I  never  had  any)  have  been  all  blasted, 
and  here  I  am,  like  Huddlesford's  oak. 

"  'Thou,  who  unmoved  hast  heard  the  whirlwind  chide 

Full  many  a  winter,  round  thy  craggy  bed, 

And  like  an  earth-born  giant  hast  outspread 
Thy  hundred  arms,  and  Heaven's  own  bolts  defied, 
Now  liest  along  thy  native  mountain's  side, 

Uptorn  !  yet  deem  not  that  I  come  to  shed 

The  idle  drops  of  pity  o'er  thy  head, 
Or,  basely,  to  insult  thy  blasted  pride. 

"  :  No,  still  'tis  thine,  though  fallen,  imperial  Oak, 
To  teach  this  lesson  to  the  wise  and  brave — 

That  'tis  far  better,  overthrown  and  broke, 
In  Freedom's  cause  to  sink  into  the  grave, 

Than  in  submission  to  a  tyrant's  yoke, 

Like  the  vile  Reed,  to  bow  and  be  a  slave.' 


CHAPTER    XXV. 

TARIFF — PEOPHECY — LEWIS   McLEAN. 

The  Tariff  question,  during  the  spring  of  1824,  was  thoroughly 
discussed,  and  for  the  first  time  distinctly  recognized  and  placed  on 
the  footing  of  a  protective  policy.     We  pass  over  this  subject,  and 


TARIFF.  215 

Mr.  Randolph's  great  speech  on  its  leading  principles,  for  the  present. 
Mr.  Randolph,  however,  watched  the  bill  in  all  its  stages,  and  opposed 
many  of  its  most  objectionable  parts  in  the  incipient  stage.  Some  of 
his  best  speeches  are  those  short,  comprehensive,  and  pithy  discourses 
delivered  on  the  spur  of  the  occasion,  on  some  isolated  point  under 
discussion.  On  the  motion  to  reduce  the  duties  on  coarse  woollens. 
'  Mr.  Randolph  said  : — 

"  I  am  surprised  that  the  votaries  of  humanity — persons  who  can- 
not sleep,  such  is  their  distress  of  mind  at  the  very  existence  of  negro 
slavery — should  persist  in  pressing  a  measure,  the  effect  of  whidh  is 
to  aggravate  the  misery  of  that  unhappy  condition,  whether  viewed  in 
reference  to  the  slave,  or  to  his  master,  if  he  be  a  man  possessing  a 
spark  of  humanity  ;  for  what  can  be  more  pitiable  than  the  situation 
of  a  man  who  has  every  desire  to  clothe  his  negroes  comfortably,  but 
who  is  absolutely  prohibited  from  so  doing  by  legislative  enactment  ? 
I  hope  that  none  of  those  who  wish  to  enhance  to  the  poor  slave  (or 
what  is  the  same  thing — to  his  master)  the  price  of  his  annual  blan- 
ket, and  of  his  sordid  suit  of  coarse,  but,  to  him,  comfortable  woollen 
cloth,  will  ever- travel  through  the  southern  country  to  spy  out  the 
nakedness,  if  not  of  the  land,  of  the  cultivators  of  the  soil.  It  is  no- 
torious that  the  profits  of  slave  labor  have  been,  for  a  long  time,  on 
the  decrease ;  and  that,  on  a  fair  average,  it  scarcely  reimburses  the 
expense  of  the  slave,  including  the  helpless  ones,  whether  from  infancy 
or  age.  The  words  of  Patrick  Henry,  in  the  Convention  of  Virginia, 
still  ring  in  my  ears :  '  They  may  liberate  every  one  of  your  slaves. 
The  Congress  possess  the  power,  and  will  exercise  it.'  Now,  sir,  the 
first  step  towards  this  consummation,  so  devoutly  wished  by  many,  is 
to  pass  such  laws  as  may  yet  still  further  diminish  the  pittance  which 
their  labor  yields  to  their  unfortunate  masters,  to  produce  such  a 
state  of  things  as  will  insure,  in  case  the  slave  shall  not  elope  from 
his  master,  that  his  master  will  run  away  from  him.  Sir,  the  blindness, 
as  it  appears  to  me — I  hope  gentlemen  will  pardon  the  expression — 
with  which  a  certain  quarter  of  this  country — I  allude  particularly  to 
the  seaboard  of  South  Carolina  and  Georgia — has  lent  its  aid  to  in- 
crease the  powers  of  the  general  government  on  points,  to  say  the  least, 
of  doubtful  construction,  fills  me  with  astonishment  and  dismay.  And 
I  look  forward,  almost  without  a  ray  of  hope,  to  the  time  which  the 
next  census,  or  that  which  succeeds  it,  will  assuredly  bring  forth, 
when  this  work  of  destruction  and  devastation  is  to  commence  in  the 
abused  name  of  humanity  and  religion,  and  when  the  imploring  eyes 
of  some  will  be,  as  now,  turned  towards  another  body,  in  the  vain 
hope  that  it  may  arrest  the  evil,  and  stay  the  plague." 

April  12,  Mr.  Randolph  said  :  "  If  the  House  would  lend  me  its 


216  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

attention  five  minutes,  I  think  I  can  demonstrate  that  the  argument 
of  the  gentleman  from  Delaware  in  favor  of  the  increased  duty  on 
Drown  sugar,  is  one  of  the  most  suicidal  arguments  that  ever  reared 
its  spectral  front  in  a  deliberative  assembly. 

"  The  gentleman  objects  to  reducing  the  duty  on  sugar,  because 
it  will  diminish  the  revenue,  which  he  says  we  cannot  dispense  with, 
and  yet  he  wishes  to  continue  it  as  a  bounty  of  $3  per  100  lbs.  (not 
the  long  hundred  of  112  lbs.),  until  the  sugar  planting  and  sugar  ma- 
nufacture should  be  extended,  so  as  to  supply  the  whole  demand  of 
our  consumption.  Then  what  becomes  of  the  revenue  from  sugar 
that  we  cannot  dispense  with  1  This  is  what  I  call  a  suicidal  argu- 
ment, it  destroys  itself. 

Mr.  McLean,  at  the  commencement  of  his  reply,  appearing  to 
be  much  irritated,  Mr.  Randolph  rose  and  assured  him  that  he  in- 
tended not  the  slightest  disrespect  or  offence — but  Mr.  McLean 
went  on  to  say  that  the  gentleman  from  Virginia  had  displayed  a 
good  head,  but  he  would  not  accept  that  gentleman's  head,  to  be 
obliged  to  have  his  heart  along  with  it. 

Mr.  Randolph  replied  : 

"It  costs  me  nothing,  sir,  to  say  that  I  very  much  regret 
that  the  zeal  which  I  have  not  only  felt,  but  cherished,  on  the  sub- 
ject of  laying  taxes  in  a  manner  which,  in  my  judgment,  is  incon- 
sistent, not  merely  with  the  spirit,  but  the  very  letter  of  the  Constitu- 
tion, should  have  given  to  my  remarks,  on  this  subject,  a  pungency, 
which  has  rendered  them  disagreeable,  and  even  offensive  to  the  gen- 
tleman from  Delaware.  For  that  gentleman  I  have  never  expressed 
any  other  sentiment  but  respect — I  have  never  uttered,  or  entertain- 
ed, an  unkind  feeling  towards  that  gentleman,  either  in  this  House 
or  elsewhere,  nor  do  I  now  feel  any  such  sentiment  towards  him.  I 
never  pressed  my  regard  upon  him — I  press  it  upon  no  man.  He 
appears  to  have  considered  my  remarks  as  having  a  personal  applica- 
tion to  himself.  I  certainly  did  not  intend  to  give  them  that  direc- 
tion, and  I  think  that  my  prompt  disclaimer  of  any  such  intention 
ought  to  have  disarmed  his  resentment,  however  justly  it  may  have 
been  excited.  He  has  been  pleased,  sir,  to  say  something,  which, 
no  doubt,  he  thinks  very  severe,  about  my  head  and  my  heart. 

"  How  easy,  sir,  would  it  be  for  me  to  reverse  the  gentleman's 
proposition,  and  to  retort  upon  him,  that  I  would  not,  in  return,  take 
that  gentleman's  heart,  however  good  it  may  be,  if  obliged  to  take 
such  a  head  into  the  bargain. 

"  But,  sir,  I  do  not  think  this— I  never  thought  it — and,  there- 
fore, I  cannot  be  so  ungenerous  as  to  say  it :  for,  Mr.  Speaker,  who 
made  me  a  searcher  of  hearts  ?  of  the  heart  of  a  fellow-man,  a  fellow- 


TARIFF.  217 

sinner  ?  Sir,  this  is  an  awful  subject  !  better  suited  to  Friday  or 
Sunday  next  (Good  Friday  and  Easter  Sunday),  two  of  the  most 
solemn  days  in  the  Christian  calendar — when  I  hope  we  shall  all  con- 
sider it,  and  lay  it  to  heart  as  we  ought  to  do. 

"  But,  sir,  I  must  still  maintain  that  the  argument  of  the  gentle- 
man is  suicidal — he  has  fairly  worked  the  equation,  and  one-half  of 
his  argument  is  a  complete  and  conclusive  answer  to  the  other.  And, 
sir.  if  I  should  ever  be  so  unfortunate  as,  through  inadvertence,  or 
the  heat  of  debate,  to  fall  into  such  an  error,  I  should,  so  far  from 
being  offended,  feel  myself  under  obligation  to  any  gentleman  who 
would  expose  its  fallacy,  even  by  ridicule — as  fair  a  weapon  as  any 
in  the  whole  Parliamentary  armory.  I  shall  not  go  so  far  as  to 
maintain,  with  my  Lord  Shaftesbury,  that  it  is  the  unerring  test  of 
truth,  whatever  it  may  be  of  temper  ;  but  if  it  be  proscribed  as  a 
weapon  as  unfair  as  it  is  confessedly  powerful,  what  shall  we  say  (I 
put  it,  sir,  to  you  and  to  the  House)  to  the  poisoned  arrow  ? — to  the 
tomahawk  and  the  scalping-knife?  Would  the  most  unsparing  use 
of  ridicule  justify  a  resort  to  these  weapons?  Was  this  a  reason 
that  the  gentleman  sould  sit  in  judgment  on  my  heart? — yes,  sir, 
my  heart — which  the  gentleman  (whatever  he  may  say)  in  his  heart 
believes  to  be  a  frank  heart,  as  I  trust  it  is  a  brave  heart.  Sir.  I 
dismiss  the  gentleman  to  his  self-complacency — let  him  go — yes,  sir, 
let  him  go,  and  thank  his  God  that  he  is  not  as  this  publican." 

This  is  the  finest  retort  of  the  kind  to  be  found  in  the  English  lan- 
guage. Its  admirable  style  and  temper  cannot  be  too  strongly 
recommended  to  those  who  in  the  heat  of  debate  may  be  tempted  to 
say  severe  and  irritating  things.  This  is  a  model  for  them  to  follow  : 
"  A  soft  answer  turneth  away  wrath."  Mr.  Randolph's  conduct  on 
this  occasion  was  looked  upon  with  admiration  by  all  gentlemen. 

"  Mr.  King,  of  New-York,"  says  he  to  a  friend,  '•  came  to  me  yes- 
terday, and  said  that  ;  all  the  Georgetown  mess  were  loud  in  their 
praises  of  my  reception  of  McLean  of  Delaware's  attack  upon  me  on 
Monday  (the  day  before  yesterday),  the  12th;  that  the  Patroon  (Van 
Rensselaer)  was  delighted,'  &c,  &c,  &c.  Tattnall  of  Georgia  (a  preux 
chevalier),  told  Mr.  Macon  that  nothing  could  be  more  dignified  or 
gentlemanly  than  my  reply,  and  that  it  was  just  what  it  ought  to 
have  been.     Many  others  tell  me  that  this  is  the  general  sentiment." 

Mr.  Randolph  frequently  expressed  to  his  friends  his  surprise  at 
this  attack  upon  him,  and  could  not  conceive  the  motive.  He  had  a 
true  regard  for  the  gentleman  from  Delaware,  though  he  might  not 
have  been  aware  of  it ;  he  pressed  his  regard  upon  no  man.  As  far 
back  as  1820,  when  Mr.  McLean  first  took  his  seat  in  Congress,  Mr. 

VOL.    II.  10 


218  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

Randolph,  with  characteristic  accuracy  and  penetration,  had  described 
him  to  a  friend,  his  origin  and  history,  and  that  of  his  family,  and 
concluded  by  saying,  "  He  is  the  finest  fellow  I  have  seen  here,  by  a 
double  distance." 

Mr.  Randolph  watched  the  tariff  bill  in  all  its  stages,  and  resisted 
it  so  long  as  there  was  any  hope.     At  length  he  wrote  to  a  friend  : 

"  I  am  satisfied  (now)  that  nothing  can  avail  to  save  us.  Indeed 
I  have  long  been  of  that  opinion.  '  The  ship  will  neither  wear  nor 
stay,  and  she  may  go  ashore,  and  be  d — d,'  as  Jack  says." 

Friday,  25th  April,  he  says : 

"  The  tariff  is  finished,  (in  our  House  at  least.)  and  so  am  I.  I 
was  sent  for  on  Tuesday  in  all  haste  to  vote  upon  it ;  when  I  got 
there  the  previous  question  was  taking,  and  the  clerk  reading  the 
yeas  and  nays. 

"  At  the  end,  Gilmore  (a  fine  fellow,  by  the  way,  although  a 
Georgian  and  a  Crawford  man)  moved  for  a  call  of  the  House.  When 
that  was  over,  Wilde,  from  Georgia,  moved  to  amend  the  title.  I,  as 
big  a  fool  as  he,  got  up  to  tell  him  what  an  ass  he  was.  (By  the  way, 
for  '  Smith's  verses  on  the  old  continental  money,'  which  the  reporter 
put  into  my  mouth — why  or  wherefore  he  only  can  tell — read  what 
I  actually  did  say :  Swiff  s  verses  on  the  motto  upon  Chief  Justice 
Whitshed's  coach.  So  much  for  reporters.  That  over,  Drayton,  of 
S.  C,  who  is  the  Purge  of  the  House,  got  up  to  make  another  motion 
to  amend.  By  this  time  the  noisome  atmosphere  overcame  me,  and 
I  left  the  hall,  Mr.  D.  on  his  legs ;  but  a  copious  effusion  of  blood 
from  the  lungs  has  been  the  consequence.  It  came  on  in  about  thirty 
minutes  after  I  got  home ;  so  that  the  debate  on  the  amendment  of 
the  tariff  bill  has  the  honor  of  my  coup  de  grace." 

Mr.  Randolph  was  appointed  on  the  committee  to  investigate  the 
charges  of  mismanagement  brought  by  Ninian  Edwards  against  the 
Secretary  of  the  Treasury.  In  reference  to  this  subject  he  writes  to 
his  constituents  from  on  board  the  ship  Nestor,  at  sea,  May  17 : 

"  Fellow-citizens,  friends,  and  freeholders — A  recurrence  of  the 
same  painful  disease  that  drove  me  from  my  post  some  two  years  ago 
again  compels  me  to  ask  a  furlough,  for  I  cannot  consent  to  consider 
myself  in  the  light  of  a  deserter.  But  no  consideration  whatever 
would  have  induced  me  to  leave  Washington,  so  long  as  a  shadow  of 
doubt  hung  over  the  transactions  of  the  Treasury,  which  I  was  (among 
others)  appointed  to  investigate.  *  *  *  *  I  confess  that  I  was  not 
without  some  misgivings  that  all  was  not  right.  Holding  myself  aloof 
from  the  intrigues  and  intriguers  of  Washington,  I  had  remained  a 


SECOND  VOYAGE  TO  EUROPE.  219 

* 
passive  spectator  of  a  scene  such  as  I  hope  never  again  to  witness. 
Not  that  I  was  without  a  slight,  a  very  slight,  preference  in  the 
choice  of  the  evils  submitted  to  us  for  our  acceptance.  I  inclined 
towards  Mr.  Crawford,  for  some  reasons  which  were  private  and  per- 
sonal, and  with  which  it  is  unnecessary  to  trouble  you ;  but,  chiefly, 
because  you  preferred  him  to  his  competitors,  and  because,  if  elected, 
he  would,  in  a  manner,  be  compelled  to  throw  himself  into  the  hands 
of  the  least  unsound  of  the  political  parties  of  the  country ;  that  he 
would,  by  the  force  of  circumstances,  be  compelled  to  act  with  us  (the 
people),  whilst  the  rival  candidates  would,  by  the  same  force  of  cir- 
cumstances, be  obliged  to  act  against  us,  and  with  the  tribe  of  office 
hunters  and  bankrupts  that  seek  to  subsist  upon  our  industry  and 


CHAPTER    XXVI 


SECOND   VOYAGE    TO   EUROPE. 


Mr.  Jacob  Harvey,  who  died  in  1848,  was  an  Irishman  by  birth; 
he  emigrated  some  thirty  years  ago  from  his  native  country,  and  made 
the  city  of  New-York  the  place  of  his  residence.  He  was  a  mer- 
chant by  profession,  and  those  who  knew  him  in  his  business  bear  tes- 
timony to  his  extensive  information,  his  skill  and  prudence,  his  integ- 
rity and  liberality.  He  was  a  man  of  refined  literary  tastes,  brilliant 
wit,  genuine  humor,  and  exquisite  delicacy  of  feeling.  These  quali- 
ties rendered  him,  in  the  social  relations  of  life,  an  instructive  and 
fascinating  companion.  The  acquaintance  that  commenced  between 
him  and  Mr.  Randolph,  on  his  first  voyage  to  Europe,  grew  into  an 
unreserved  intimacy  that  lasted  to  the  day  of  his  death.  Speaking 
of  him,  in  a  letter  to  his  niece  from  London,  he  says  :  "  His  name 
is  Jacob  Harvey,  son  of  Joseph  Massey  H..  a  Limerick  mer- 
chant, attached  to  the  society  of  Friends — what  is  called  a  gay 
Quaker.  His  grandfather,  Reuben  H,  was  a  merchant  of  Cork,  and 
during  the  war  of  1776  received  a  letter  under  General  Washington's 
own  hand,  returning  his  thanks  and  those  of  Congress  for  his  kind- 
ness to  our  countrymen  in  Ireland,  prisoners  and  others.  He  was 
introduced  to  me  by  Mr.  Colden,  as  we  left  the  quay." 

Having   assisted    Mr.  Randolph,    says    Mr.  Harvey,  in  making 


220  LIFE  0F  J0HN  RANDOLPH. 

his  preparations  for  the  voyage,  I  left  him  at  Bunker's,  and  promised 
to  call  upon  him  next  morning  at  half  past  nine  o'clock,  to  accompany 
him  to  the  steamboat,  which  was  to  convey  him  to  the  packet. 

I  charged  him  to  have  all  his  luggage  ready,  as  the  steamboat 
was  to  start  precisely  at  ten  o'clock,  which  he  promised  to  do.  Next 
morning,  punctual  to  my  appointment,  I  entered  his  sitting-room,  ex- 
pecting, of  course,  to  find  him.  cap  in  hand,  ready  to  walk  to  White- 
hall dock,  the  moment  I  appeared.  Judge,  then,  of  my  utter  aston- 
ishment to  see  him  sitting  at  the  table,  in  his  dressing-gown,  with  a 
large  Bible  open  before  him,  pen  in  hand,  in  the  act  of  writing  a  let- 
ter ;  while  '  John'  was  on  his  knees,  most  busily  employed  in  empty- 
ing one  trunk  and  filling  another  ! 

"  In  the  name  of  heaven,"  said  I,  "  Mr.  Randolph,  what  is  the 
matter  1  Do  you  know  that  it  will  soon  be  ten  o'clock,  and  the  steam- 
boat waits  for  nobody  1  You  promised  me  last  night  to  have  every 
thing  packed  up  and  ready  when  I  called,  and  here  you  are  not  even 
dressed  yet !" 

"  I  cannot  help  it,  sir,"  replied  he  ;  "I  am  all  confusion  this  morn- 
ing ;  every  thing  goes  wrong ;  even  my  memory  has  gone  '  a  good 
wool  gathering.'  I  am  just  writing  a  farewell  letter  to  my  constitu- 
ents, and,  would  you  believe  it,  sir,  I  have  forgotten  the  exact  words 
of  a  quotation  from  the  Bible,  which  I  want  to  use,  and,  as  I  always 
quote  correctly,  I  cannot  close  my  letter  until  I  find  the  passage ; 
but  strange  to  say,  I  forget  both  the  chapter  and  verse.  I  never  was 
at  fault  before,  sir  ;  what  shall  I  do  ?" 

"  Do  you  remember  any  part  of  the  quotation  ?"  said  I,  "  perhaps 
I  can  assist  you  with  the  rest,  as  time  is  precious." 

'•  It  begins,"  replied  he,  ': '  How  have  I  loved  thee,  oh  Jacob ;'  but 
for  the  life  of  me,  I  cannot  recollect  the  next  words.  Oh  my  head  ! 
my  head  !  Here,  do  you  take  the  Bible,  and  run  your  eye  over  that 
page,  whilst  I  am  writing  the  remainder  of  my  address." 

"  My  dear  sir,"  said  I,  "  you  have  not  time  to  do  this  now,  but  let 
us  take  letter,  Bible,  and  all  on  board  the  steamboat,  where  you  will 
have  ample  time  to  find  the  passage  you  want,  before  we  reach  the 
packet." 

After  some  hesitation  and  reluctance,  he  agreed  to  my  proposi- 
tion, and  then,  suddenly  turning  round,  he  said,  in  a  sharp  tone : 


SECOND  VOYAGE  TO  EUROPE.  221 

"  Well,  sir,  I  will  not  take  John  with  me,  and  you  will  please  get 
back  his  passage-money  to-morrow.     He  must  go  home,  sir." 

"  Not  take  John  with  you  !"  exclaimed  I.  "  Are  you  mad  ?  Do 
you  forget  how  much  you  suffered  last  voyage  for  want  of  John  or 
Juba.  and  how  repeatedly  you  declared  that  you  would  never  again 
cross  the  Atlantic  without  one  of  them?  It  is  folly,  and  I  cannot 
consent  to  it." 

"  I  liave  decided,  sir ;  the  question  is  no  longer  open  to  discus- 
sion." 

"  At  least,"  said  I,  ':  be  so  good  as  to  give  some  reason  for  such  a 
decision." 

"  Why,  sir,"  replied  he,  "  John  has  disobliged  me.  He  has  been 
spoiled  by  jour  free  blacks,  and  forgets  his  duty  ;  and  I  have  no  idea 
of  having  to  take  care  of  him  all  the  way  to  Europe  and  back  again  !" 
Then,  turning  to  poor  John,  who  was  completely  crest-fallen,  he  went 
on  :  "  Finish  that  trunk  at  once,  and  take  it  down  to  the  steamboat, 
and  on  your  return  take  your  passage  in  the  Philadelphia  boat ;  and 

when  you  get  to  Philadelphia,  call  on  Mr. ,  in  Arch  street,  and 

tell  him  that  I  have  sailed ;  then  go  on  to  Baltimore,  and  call  on  Mr. 

,  in  Monument  Place,  and  say  that  I  shall  write  to  him  from 

London  ;  thence  proceed  to  Washington  ;  pack  up  my  trunks,  which 
you  will  find  at  my  lodgings,  and  take  them  with  you  to  Roanoke, 
and  report  yourself  to  my  overseer."  After  a  pause,  he  added,  in  a 
sarcastic  tone,  "  Now,  John,  you  have  heard  my  commands ;  but  you 
need  not  obey  them,  unless  you  choose  to  do  so.  If  you  prefer  it,  when 
you  arrive  in  Philadelphia,  call  on  the  Manumission  Society,  and  they 
will  make  you  free,  and  I  shall  never  look  after  you.  Do  you  hear, 
sir?" 

This  unjust  aspersion  of  John's  love  was  too  much  for  the  faith- 
ful fellow  ;  his  chest  swelled,  his  lips  quivered,  his  eyes  filled,  as  he 
replied,  in  much  agitation  : 

"  Master  John,  this  is  too  hard.  I  don't  deserve  it.  You  know 
I  love  you  better  than  every  body  else,  and  you  know  you  will  find 
me  at  Roanoke  when  you  come  back  !" 

I  felt  my  blood  rising,  and  said  :  "  Well,  Mr.  Randolph,  I  could 
not  have  believed  this  had  I  not  seen  it.  I  thought  you  had  more 
compassion  for  your  slaves.  You  are  positively  unjust  in  this  case, 
for  surely,  you  have  punished  him  severely  enough  by  leaving  him 


222  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

behind  you,  without  hurting  his  feelings.  You  have  made  the  poor 
fellow  cry." 

"  What,"  said  he  quickly,  "  does  he  shed  tears?"  "  He  does,"  re- 
plied I,  "  and  you  may  see  them  yourself."  "  Then,"  said  he,  "  he 
shall  go  with  me  !  John,  take  down  your  baggage,  and  let  us  forget 
what  has  passed.  I  was  irritated,  sir,  and  I  thank  you  for  the  re- 
buke." 

Thus  ended  this  curious  scene.  John  instantly  brightened  up, 
soon  forgot  his  master's  anger,  and  was  on  his  way  to  the  boat,  in  a 
few  minutes,  perfectly  happy. 

Just  as  the  boat  was  casting  off,  Randolph  called  out  to  me — 

"  Grood-by,  my  friend,  and  remember,  I  shall  land  at  the  Cove  of 
Cork  (the  dangers  of  the  sea  always  excepted),  and  go  over  to  Limer- 
ick, and  spend  a  day  or  two  at  your  father's  house." 

I  did  not  place  much  dependence  upon  this  hasty  promise,  and 
was,  therefore,  agreeably  surprised,  a  few  weeks  afterwards,  by  re- 
ceiving a  letter  from  home,  informing  me  that  ':  Randolph  of  Roan- 
oke" had  really  paid  my  family  a  visit,  of  which  they  had  not  receiv- 
ed the  slightest  intimation,  until  he  entered  the  parlor  and  introduced 
himself.  He  made  himself  extremely  agreeable,  and  they  were  very 
sorry  to  part  with  him  the  next  day. 

'•  Sir,"  said  he,  speaking  of  Ireland,  "  much  as  I  was  prepared  to 
see  misery  in  the  South  of  Ireland,  I  was  utterly  shocked  at  the  con- 
dition of  the  poor  peasantry  between  Limerick  and  Dublin.  Why, 
sir,  John  never  felt  so  proud  at  being  a  Virginia  slave.  He  looked 
with  horror  upon  the  mud  hovels  and  miserable  food  of  the  white 
slaves,  and  I  had  no  fear  of  his  running  away.  The  landlords,  and 
the  clergy  of  the  established  church,  have  a  fearful  account  to  give, 
some  day  or  other,  sir,  of  the  five  and  ten  talents  intrusted  to  them. 
I  could  not  keep  silence,  sir,  but  every  where,  in  the  stage-coaches  and 
hotels,  I  expressed  my  opinions  fearlessly.  One  morning,  whilst 
breakfasting  at  Morrison's,  in  Dublin,  I  was  drawn  into  an  argument 
with  half  a  dozen  country  gentlemen,  all  violent  tories,  who  seemed 
to  think  that  all  the  evils  of  Ireland  arose  from  the  disloyalty  of  the 
Catholics.  I  defended  the  latter,  on  the  ground  that  they  were  de- 
nied their  political  rights;  and  I  told  them  very  plainly,  in  the  lan- 
guage of  Scripture,  that  until  they  '  unmuzzled  the  ox  which  treadeth 
out  the  corn.'  they  must  expect  insurrections  and  opposition  to  the 


SECOND  VOYAGE  TO  EUROPE.  223 

government.  I  had  no  sooner  uttered  these  words  than  they  all  en- 
deavored to  silence  me  by  clamor,  and  one  of  them  insinuated  that 
I  must  be  a  '  foreign  spy.'  I  stood  up  at  once,  sir,  and  after  a  pause, 
said,  '  Can  it  be  possible  that  I  am  in  the  metropolis  of  Ireland,  the 
centre  of  hospitality,  or  do  I  dream  ?  Is  this  the  way  Irish  gentle- 
men are  wont  to  treat  strangers,  who  happen  to  express  sympathy  for 
the  wrongs  of  their  countrymen  ?  If,  gentlemen,  you  cannot  refute 
my  arguments,  at  least  do  not  drown  my  voice  by  noisy  assertions, 
which  you  do  not  attempt  to  prove.  If  ever  any  of  you  should  visit 
old  Virginia,  I  shall  promise  you  a  fair  hearing,  at  all  events ;  and 
you  may  compare  our  system  of  slavery  with  yours — aye,  and  be  the 
judges  yourselves  !'  This  pointed  rebuke  had  the  desired  effect ;  the 
moment  they  discovered  who  I  was  they  instantly  apologized  for  their 
rudeness,  insisted  upon  my  dining  with  them ;  and  never  did  I  spend 
a  more  jovial  day.  The  instant  jjolitics  were  laid  aside,  all  was  wit 
and  repartee,  and  song.  So  ended  my  first  and  last  debate  with  a 
party  of  Irish  tories." 

Of  England,  he  says,  "  there  never  was  such  a  country  on  the  face 
of  the  earth,  as  England ;  and  it  is  utterly  impossible  that  there  ever 
can  be  any  combination  of  circumstances  hereafter,  to  make  such  an- 
other country  as  old  England  now  is — God  bless  her  !  But  in  Ire- 
land." he  added,  "  the  Government  and  the  Church,  or  the  Lion  and 
the  Jackal,  have  divided  the  spoils  between  them,  leaving  nothing  for 
poor  Pat,  but  the  potatoes.  The  Marquis  of  Wellesley,  sir,  does  his 
best  to  lessen  the  miseries  of  the  peasantry,  and  yet  he  is  abused  by 
both  factions — a  pretty  good  proof  that  he  acts  impartially  between 
them,  sir." 

From  England,  Mr.  Randolph  crossed  over  into  France.  From 
Paris,  he  addressed  the  following  letter  to  his  friend,  Dr.  Brocken- 
brough : 

Paris.  July  24,  1824. 

This  date  says  every  thing.  I  arrived  here  on  Sunday  after- 
noon, and  am  now  writing  from  the  Grand  Hotel  de  Castile,  rue 
Richelieu  and  Boulevard  des  Italiens — for,  as  the  French  say,  it  gives 
upon  both,  having  an  entrance  from  each. 

I  need  not  tell  either  of  you,  that  it  is  in  the  very  focus  of  gayety 
and  fashion  ;  and  if  the  maitre  d'hotel  may  be  credited,  it  is  al- 
ways honored  by  the  residence  of  "  M.  le  Due  de  Davuansaire,"  when- 
ever his  Grace  pays  a  visit  to  his  birthplace.     The  civilities  which, 


224  LIFE  0F  -TOHN  RANDOLPH. 

through  the  good  offices  of  my  friend,  Mr.  Foster,  were  tendered  to 
me  two  years  ago,  from  '  Davuansaire  House,'  and  '  Chisonig,'  would 
render  this  circumstance  a  recommendation,  if  the  neatness  and  com- 
fort of  my  apartments  did  not  supersede  all  necessity  for  any  other 
recommendation. 

Here,  then,  am  I,  where  I  ought  to  have  been  thirty  years  ago 
— and  where  I  would  have  been,  had  I  not  been  plundered  and  op- 
pressed during  my  nonage,  and  left  to  enter  upon  life  overwhelmed 
with  a  load  of  DEBT,  which  the  profits  of  a  nineteen  years'  minority 
ought  to  have  more  than  paid ;  and  ignorant  as  I  was  (and  even  yet 
am)  of  business,  to  grope  my  way,  without  a  clue,  through  the  laby- 
rinth of  my  father's  affairs,  and  brought  up  among  Quakers,  an  ardent 
ami  des  noirs.  to  scuffle  with  negroes  and  overseers,  for  something  like 
a  pittance  of  rent  and  profit  upon  my  land  and  stock. 

"  Under  such  circumstances,  that  I  have  not  been  utterly  ruined, 
is  due  (under  God)  to  the  spirit  I  inherited  from  my  parents,  and  to  the 
admirable  precepts,  and  yet  more  admirable  example  of  my  revered  mo- 
ther— honored  and  blessed  be  her  memory.  Then  I  had  to  unravel  the 
tangled  skein  of  my  poor  brother's  difficulties  and  debts.  His  sud- 
den and  untimely  death  threw  upon  my  care,  helpless  as  I  was,  his 
family,  whom  I  tenderly  and  passionately  loved,  and  with  whom  I 
might  be  now  living,  at  Bizarre,  if  the  reunion  of  his  widow  with  the 

of  her  husband  had  not  driven  me  to  Roanoke  ;  where,  but 

for  my  brother's  entreaty  and  forlorn  and  friendless  condition,  I 
should  have  remained  ;  and  where  I  should  have  obtained  a  release 
from  my  bondage  more  than  twenty  years  ago.  Then  I  might  have 
enjoyed  my  present  opportunities ;  but  time  misspent  and  faculties 
misemployed,  and  senses  jaded  by  labor,  or  impaired  by  excess,  can- 
not be  recalled  any  more  than  that  freshness  of  the  heart,  before  it 
has  become  aware  of  the  deceits  of  others,  and  of  its  own. 

"  But  how  do  you  like  Paris  1  for  all  this  egotism  you  might  have 
poured  out  from  Washington." 

Not  in  the  least.     And  I  stay  here  only  waiting  for  my  letters, 

which  are to  the  return  of  this  day's  post  from  London.     To 

you  I  need  not  say  one  word  of  the  Lions  of  Paris,  but  will,  in  a 
word,  tell  you,  that  crucifixes,  and  paintings  of  crucifixions,  and 
prints  of  Charlotte  Corday  and  Marie  Antoinette,  &c,  are  the  fashion 
of  the  day.  That  the  present  dynasty,  infirmly  seated  in  the  saddle  ; 
and  that  by  little  and  little  every  privilege,  acquired  not  by  the  de- 
signs of  its  authors,  but  by  the  necessary  consequences  of  such  a  revo- 
lution, will  be  taken  from  the  people  ;  nay,  I  am  persuaded  that  the 
lands  will  be  resumed,  or  (what  is  the  same  thing)  an  ample  equiva- 
lent will  be  plundered  from  the  public,  to  endow  the  losers  with.  At 
the  next  session  of  the  deputies,  the  measure  of  reimbursing  the  emi- 
grants— a  measure  the  very  possibility  of  which  was  scouted,  only 


SECOND  VOYAGE  TO  ENGLAND.  225 

three  years  ago.  The  Marquis  de  La  Fayette  had  sailed  for  the 
United  States  about  ten  days  before  my  arrival  here.  I  am  sorry 
he  lias  taken  the  step.  It  will  do  no  good  to  his  reputation,  which 
at  his  time  of  life  he  ought  to  nurse.  I  take  it  for  granted,  that 
Ned  Livingston,  or  some  other  equally  pure  patriot,  will  propose 
another  donation  to  him  ;  the  last,  I  think,  was  on  the  motion  of  Beau 
Dawson.  I  hope  I  may  be  there,  to  give  it  just  such  another  recep- 
tion as  M.  Figaro  had  at  my  hands.  Although  it  is  certainly  a  species 
of  madness  (and  I  hear  that  this  malady  is  imputed  to  me)  to  be 
wearing  out  my  strength  and  spirits,  and  defending  the  rights  (whe- 
ther of  things  or  of  persons)  of  a  people  who  lend  their  countenance 
to  them  that  countenance  the  general  plunder  of  the  public,  in  the 
expectation  either  that  they  may  share  in  the  spoil,  or  that  their 
former  peculations  will  not  be  examined  into. 

I  consider  the  present  King  of  France,  and  his  family,  to  be  as 
firmly  seated  on  the  throne  of  the  Tuilleries,  as  ever  Louis  XIV. 
was  at  Versailles ;  all  possibility  of  counter-revolution  is  a  mere  chi- 
mera of  distempered  imagination.  It  would  be  just  as  possible  to  re- 
store the  state  of  society  and  manners  which  existed  in  Virginia  a 
half  a  century  ago  ;  I  should  as  soon  expect  to  see  the  Nelsons,  and 
Pages,  and  Byrds,  and  Fairfaxes,  living  in  their  palaces,  and  driving 
their  coaches  and  sixes ;  or  the  good  old  Virginia  gentlemen  on  the 
assembly,  drinking  their  twenty  and  forty  bowls  of  rack  punches,  and 
madeira,  and  claret,  in  lieu  of  a  knot  of  deputy  sheriffs  and  hack  at- 
torneys, each  with  his  cruet  of  whisky  before  him,  and  puddle  of 
tobacco-spittle  between  his  legs. 

Bat  to  return  to  Paris.  It  is  wonderfully  improved  since  you 
saw  it ;  nay,  since  the  last  restoration,  but  it  is  still  the  filthiest  hole, 
not  excepting  the  worst  parts  of  the  old  town  of  Edinboro',  that  I 
ever  saw  out  of  Ireland.  I  have  dined,  for  your  sake,  chez  Beau- 
villiers,  and  had  bad  fare,  bad  wine,  and  even  bad  bread,  a  high 
charge,  and  a  surly  garcon.  Irving,  whom  you  know  by  character 
(our  ex-minister  at  Madrid),  was  with  me.  He  says  all  the  Traiteurs 
are  bad,  and  the  crack  ones  worst  of  all.  I  have  also  dined  with  Very, 
the  first  restaurateur  of  the  Palais  Royal,  four  times ;  on  one  of 
which  occasions  I  had  a  good  dinner  and  a  fair  glass  of  champagne — 
next  door  to  Very,  once,  at  the  Cafe  de  Chartres — with  Pravot — Pas- 
tel ;  all  in  the  Palais  Royal ;  all  bad,  dear,  and  not  room  enough, 
even  at  Beauvilliers1  or  Very's,  to  sit  at  ease.  I  can  have  a  better 
dinner  for  half  a  guinea  at  the  Traveller's,  in  a  saloon  fit  for  a  prince, 
and  where  gentlemen  alone  can  enter,  and  a  pint  of  the  most  exqui- 
site Madeira,  than  I  can  get  here  for  fifteen  francs.  I  have  dined 
like  a  marketman  for  5  fr.  10  sous;  that  is  the  cheapest.  All  the 
wine,  except  le  vin  ordinaire,  is  adulterated  shockingly.  The  Eng- 
lish, that  made  every  thing  dear,  and  spoiled  the  garcons  and  filles, 

VOL.  II.  10* 


226  LIFE  0F  J0HN  RANDOLPH. 

whose  greediness  is  only  equalled  by  their  impudence.  Crucifixes, 
madonnas,  and  pictures  and  prints  of  that  cast,  with  Charlotte  Cor- 
day,  &>c.,  &c,  are  the  order  of  the  day.  Paris  swarms  with  old 
priests,  who  have  been  dug  up  since  the  restoration,  and  they  manu- 
facture young  ones  (Jesuits  especially)  by  hundreds  at  a  single  ope- 
ration. 

Monsieur,  whom  you  saw  at  Edinburgh,  is  remarkable,  as  I  hear, 
for  consuming  a  hat  per  day,  when  one  is  each  morning  put  upon  his 
toilet.     Hats  were  not  so  plenty  then. 

I  made  a  strange  mistake  in  my  order  to  Leigh.  I  intended  to 
have  given  him  control  over  all  my  funds,  except  the  tobacco  sold 
after  that  period,  which  I  wished  to  reserve  as  a  fund,  on  which  to 
play  here — I  mean  in  Europe.  Pray,  let  it  be  so,  deducting  my 
cheek  for  the  passage  money. 

And  now,  my  good  friend,  let  me  tell  you  that  the  state  of  my 
eyes,  and  of  my  health,  and  of  my  avocations  too — for  I  have  a  great 
deal  of  writing  to  do — may  cause  this  to  be  the  last  letter  that  you 
shall  receive  from  me  until  my  return,  when  we  shall,  I  hope,  chat 
about  these  and  other  matters  once  more. 

In  case  you  should  not  have  gone  to  Kentucky,  I  expect  a  regu- 
lar bulletin  from  you.  There  is  one  subject  very  near  my  heart  that 
you  must  keep  me  informed  about.  I  know  that  women  (with  great 
plasticity  on  other  subjects)  never  will  take  advice  upon  that.  I 
know  that  they  rush  into  ruin  with  open  eyes,  and  speud  the  rest  of 
their  lives  in  cursing,  at  least,  the  happier  lot  of  their  acquaintances, 
who  have  in  the  most  important  concern  of  life  been  governed  by  the 
dictates  of  common  sense.  The  man  is  too  old ;  he  has  not  nous 
enough ;  he  is  helpless.  If  he  had  ten  thousand  a  year,  he  would 
not  be  a  match  for  her.  I  don't  know  who  is  worthy  of  her.  But 
let  him  be  of  suitable  age,  with  mind  and  taste  congenial  with  her 
own,  and  of  an  erect  spirit  as  well  as  carriage  of  body.  They  shall 
have  my  blessing. 

Adieu, 

J.  R.  op  R. 

Except  a  few  of  the  English,  with  which  people  Paris  swarms, 
I  have  not  seen,  either  in  the  streets  or  elsewhere,  any  thing  that  by 
possibility  might  be  mistaken  for  a  gentleman.  The  contrast  in  this 
respect  with  London  is  most  striking;  indeed  I  would  as  soon  com- 
pare the  Hottentots  with  the  French  as  these  last  with  the  English. 
No  Enquirer  yet  received,  and  I  pine  for  news  from  home. 

The  latter  part  of  the  summer  Mr.  Randolph  spent  among  the 
mountains  of  Switzerland.  August  the  25th  he  says :  "  I  was  at 
Lauterbrunnen  gazing  on  the  Stubbach,  or  seeing  '  the  soaring  Jung- 
frau  rear  her  never-trodden  snow.'  " 


PRESIDENTIAL  ELECTION.  227 

He  arrived  in  New-York  the  2d  day  of  December,  when  the  result 
of  the  Presidential  election  was  still  in  doubt,  and  hastened  on  to 
Washington. 


CHAPTEE     XXVII. 

PRESIDENTIAL    ELECTION. 

The  Presidential  election  of  1824  was  the  legitimate  result  of  the 
preceding  "  era  of  good  feelings/'  In  that  contest  there  was  not  one 
political  principle  involved.  In  no  State  in  the  Union,  Delaware 
alone  excepted,  did  tbe  people  pretend  to  keep  up  their  old  party 
organization.  The  word  federalist  was  not  heard  in  political  circles ; 
it  was  a  mark  of  rudeness  to  attach  that  epithet  to  any  gentleman  ; 
the  measures  it  represented  had  long  since  been  exploded  ;  the  word 
itself,  as  calling  up  unpleasant  reminiscences,  had  grown  obsolete; 
and  every  body  professed  to  belong  to  the  great  republican  family. 
It  was  suspected  there  were  many  federalists  in  disguise,  and  that 
their  profession  of  republicanism  was  merely  a  lip  service;  but  no 
one  could  point  them  out,  or  identify  them  by  their  political  acts. 
The  party  had  been  dissolved,  the  federalists  themselves  admitted ; 
but  they  contended  that  it  had  only  been  dissolved  by  the  republi- 
cans embracing  their  doctrines.  And  it  is  very  true  that  all  the 
leading  measures  of  Congress  were  of  a  federal  stamp,  and  that  they 
were  bottomed  on  principles  of  the  most  latitudinous  kind  ;  the  very 
same  that  Hamilton  used  in  defending  his  obnoxious  schemes,  that 
brought  such  discredit  on  the  name  of  federalism.  It  was  impossible 
to  draw  a  line  of  distinction  between  men,  or  to  set  up  any  standard 
by  which  to  judge  their  opinions.  Old  measures  and  the  divisions 
they  occasioned  had  passed  away ;  new  measures,  under  entirely  new 
and  variant  circumstances,  had  been  brought  forward  ;  but  they  in- 
volved the  same  principles  of  interpretation,  and  required  the  same 
line  of  argument  in  their  defence,  as  the  old  ones  :  but  men  did  not 
divide  upon  them  as  they  had  done  heretofore.  Those  who  professed 
to  abhor  the  doctrines  of  Hamilton,  when  applied  to  the  schemes  of 


228  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

his  day.  now  embraced  them  as  the  only  means  of  defending  and  sus- 
taining their  own  measures.  A  change  of  circumstances  was  thought 
to  justify  a  change  of  political  principle.  In  Hamilton's  day,  and 
down  to  1811,  a  national  bank  was  unconstitutional;  but  now,  in  the 
estimation  of  republicans,  it  had  become  "  necessary  and  proper,'' 
and  therefore  constitutional.  Those  who  came  into  power  with  Mr. 
Jefferson,  professing  hostility  to  a  national  bank,  and  who  refused  in 
1811  to  re-charter  the  old  one,  established  in  1816  a  similar  institu- 
tion. The  latitudinous  construction  of  the  Constitution  by  the 
Adams  administration  in  1798-99,  and  the  odious  measures  based 
thereon,  such  as  the  alien  and  sedition  laws,  constituted  the  principal 
objection  to  that  administration,  and  were  the  main  cause  of  its  over- 
throw ;  and  the  substitution  of  a  party  professing  the  contrary  doc- 
trines— a  party  that  professed  to  interpret  the  Constitution  literally, 
and  that  would  exercise  no  power  that  had  not  been  specifically  given 
by  some  express  grant  in  the  Charter.  This  party  pursued  their 
principles  for  some  years,  and  furnished  a  model  of  a  plain,  just,  and 
economical  government ;  but  in  1816,  while  nominally  in  power,  they 
elected  their  President,  and  for  eight  years  seemed  to  control  the 
measures  of  his  administration  ;  and  yet  those  measures,  as  we  have 
abundantly  seen,  were  founded  on  the  same  principles  that  had  been 
so  loudly  condemned  and  unequivocally  repudiated  under  the  Adams 
dynasty :  so  easily  are  men  deceived  by  names  and  appearances  ;  so 
hard  is  it  to  follow  a  rigid  rule  of  abstinence,  when  appetite  and 
opportunity  invite  to  indulgence. 

A  respectable  minority,  with  John  Randolph  at  the  head,  invaria- 
bly opposed  the  consolidating  measures  of  the  times ;  demonstrated 
their  identity  with  the  exploded  doctrines  of  federalism,  and  warned 
the  people  of  the  dangerous  consequences  ;  but  it  was  a  sort  of  Cassan- 
dra voice,  that  nobody  heeded  :  it  seemed  impossible  to  restore  the  old 
landmarks,  and  to  convince  the  people  that  they  had  gone  backwards, 
and  fallen  into  the  old  paths  they  had  once  abandoned.  All  were  ex- 
expecting  some  special  advantage  from  the  legislation  of  the  day  ;  the 
hopes  of  profit  had  stifled  the  remonstrances  of  truth  ;  and  the  popular 
leaders  were  constantly  dazzling  the  imaginations  of  the  people  with 
some  magnificent  scheme,  by  which  they  hoped  to  gain  renown  for  them- 
selves, and  to  fasten  to  their  fortunes  by  the  ties  of  a  common  interest 
some  class  or  section  of  the  community.     The  presidential  candidates 


PRESIDENTIAL  ELECTION.  229 

were  all  committed,  or  in  some  way  identified  with  those  schemes. 
Mr.  Adams,  Mr.  Calhoun,  and  Mr.  Crawford,  were  members  of  the 
cabinet  ;  but  they  had  not  been  slow  in  expressing  themselves  on  all 
occasions,  and  had  given  unequivocal  evidence  of  their  devotion  to 
those  broad  doctrines  that  swept  away  the  barriers  of  the  Constitu- 
tion, and  made  it  a  convenient  instrument  to  sanction  whatever  might 
be  deemed  for  the  time  being  to  be  necessary  and  proper. 

Mr.  Clay,  as  the  leader  in  the  House  of  Representatives,  had  been 
their  most  ardent,  active,  and  eloquent  champion.  His  position  gave 
him  the  advantage  of  the  initiative  in  all  popular  measures,  and  he  never 
failed  to  identify  himself  with  them  by  some  bold  and  eloquent  dis- 
course. Not  content  with  sweeping  away  the  barriers  within  the  narrow 
horizon  of  domestic  politics,  he  embraced  in  the  wide  scope  of  his  phi- 
lanthropic regard  all  the  oppressed  and  struggling  nations  of  the  earth; 
and,  turning  a  deaf  ear  to  the  warning  of  the  father  of  his  country, 
he  hastened  to  speak  a  word  of  encouragement,  and  to  stretch  out  an 
arm  of  help  without  regard  to  the  consequences  to  his  own  country. 
His  ambition  for  public  display,  his  thirst  for  present  and  personal 
applause,  his  frank  and  manly  character,  his  sanguine  temperament, 
and  bold  imagination,  with  a  quick,  comprehensive,  yet  undisciplined 
mind,  made  him  just  the  character  to  be  led  off  by  any  popular  theme 
that  might  promise  distinction  and  popularity — just  the  man  to  fol- 
low with  undoubting  faith  the  shining  ignis  fatuus  of  the  hour,  and 
to  be  dazzled  by  it  and  deceived. 

General  Jackson  had  not  been  in  political  life,  and  possessed 
great  military  renown ;  this  gave  him  an  advantage  over  his  competi- 
tors :  but  he  was  not  known  to  differ  materially  from  them  in  his 
political  opinions.  There  were  no  public  acts  to  commit  him  ;  but 
all  his  correspondence  and  conversations,  so  far  as  they  were  made 
known  to  the  public,  proved  that  at  that  time  he  had  no  clear  con- 
ception of  the  principles  that  divided  the  old  federal  and  republican 
parties,  and  that  he  was  equally  devoted  to  those  new  measures  which 
had  done  so  much  to  bring  back  in  disguise  the  ascendency  of 
federal  doctrines. 

In  this  state  of  things  the  partisans  of  each  of  the  candidates  for 
the  presidency  sought  to  impress  on  the  public  mind  the  idea  that 
their  friend  was  par  excellence  the  true  republican  candidate.  But 
it  was  impossible  to  persuade  the  people  to  this  belief,  when  there 


230  LIFE  0F  J0HN  RANDOLPH. 

was  no  political  principle  dividing  them — no  platform  of  doctrine  on 
which  they  were  called  to  stand,  so  as  to  be  separated  and  distin- 
guished from  those  around  them.  The  consequence  was,  the  whole 
country  was  divided  into  sectional  and  personal  factions.  The  West 
and  Southwest  voted  for  a  western  and  southwestern  man ;  New- 
York  and  New  England  voted  for  a  New  England  man ;  while  the 
Southern  and  Middle  States  were  divided  between  a  northern,  a 
southern,  and  a  western  man.  There  was  no  principle  to  bring  the 
discordant  sections  together,  and  to  cause  them  to  sacrifice  their 
friend  on  the  altar  of  the  public  good  :  there  was  no  such  public 
good — nothing  in  the  whole  controversy  that  would  justify  any  such 
immolation.  What  advantage  had  Mr.  Adams  over  Mr  Clay,  or 
Mr.  Crawford,  or  General  Jackson  ?  or  what  advantage  had  either  of 
these  over  him,  so  as  to  induce  the  friends  of  one  to  surrender  him 
that  they  might  thereby  secure  the  success  of  the  other?  It  was  not 
publicly  pretended  that  one  was  sounder  in  his  political  opinions  than 
the  other ;  and  they  all  stood  on  their  own  personal  merits  as  having 
done  some  service  to  the  country  and  to  the  republican  cause.  The 
friends  of  Mr.  Crawford  endeavored  to  gain  an  advantage  for  him 
by  procuring  a  "  regular  nomination,"  according  to  the  usages  of  the 
party.  It  had  been  usual  for  a  convention,  or,  as  it  was  called,  a 
caucus,  of  republican  members  at  the  proper  time  to  assemble  to- 
gether, and  to  designate  some  suitable  pei'son  for  the  presidency  on 
whom  the  people  might  concentrate  their  votes,  so  as  to  prevent  the 
triumph  of  those  principles  which  they  regarded  as  so  obnoxious  :  so 
long  as  federalism  continued  in  organized  opposition,  this  concentra- 
tion was  the  only  means  of  securing  the  ascendency  to  the  republican 
party.  But  federalism  had  long  ceased  to  exist  as  an  opposing  force. 
This  party  machinery,  therefore,  in  the  absence  of  those  higher  mo- 
tives of  combination,  could  only  be  made  to  subserve  the  purposes  of 
faction,  and  to  give  an  undue  advantage  where  none  was  deserved. 

The  friends  of  Mr.  Crawford,  however,  being  mostly  from  Vir- 
ginia and  New- York,  and  considering  themselves  as  the  true  stand- 
ards of  republican  orthodoxy,  persisted  in  their  course,  notwith- 
standing a  formidable  opposition,  and  called  together  their  conven- 
tion the  14th  of  February,  1824.  Out  of  two  hundred  and  sixty-one 
members  of  Congress,  only  sixty-four  attended  the  meeting  in  person, 
and  two  by  proxy.     The  two  proxies  and  sixty-two  members  present 


PRESIDENTIAL  ELECTION.  231 

voted  for  Mr.  Crawford.  Of  the  sixty-two  votes,  one-half  were  from 
New-York  and  Virginia.  This  convention  did  not  exceed  one-fourth 
of  the  members  of  Congress,  and  was  composed  entirely  of  the  friends 
of  one  only  of  the  candidates — there  was  no  comparison  of  opinions — 
no  sacrifices  of  personal  preferences  and  mutual  concessions  for  the 
good  of  a  common  cause.  Under  such  circumstances,  it  is  obvious 
that  the  meeting  could  make  no  pretensions  to  nationality,  not  even 
to  a  full  and  fair  party  organization.  Yet  it  was  proclaimed  as  "  the 
regular  nomination  "  according  to  the  usages  of  the  party,  and  the 
republicans  called  on  to  sustain  it  as  such.  In  Virginia,  the  people 
gave  it  their  support,  because  Mr.  Crawford  was  their  choice  under 
all  circumstances.  But  in  New-York  it  met  with  a  very  different 
fate.  Mr.  Crawford  was  not  a  favorite  with  the  people  of  New- York, 
though  her  delegation  voted  for  him  in  the  caucus  of  1816  in  oppo- 
sition to  Mr.  Monroe,  and  came  near  defeating  by  their  skilful  and 
secret  management  the  only  person  seriously  spoken  of  by  the  peo- 
ple. Finding  that  the  "  regular  nomination,"  according  to  party 
usage,  which  carried  such  a  potent  spell  with  it  heretofore,  had  lost 
its  influence,  and  that  if  the  people  were  left  to  themselves,  Mr. 
Crawford  was  certain  of  defeat,  his  friends  took  refuge  in  the  legis- 
lature, and  determined  to  gain  their  point  by  keeping  the  election 
from  the  people.  Up  to  this  time  the  electors  of  President  and 
Vice-President  had  been  nominated  by  the  legislature.  The  people 
now  determined  to  take  the  election  in  their  own  hands.  A  bill  to  that 
effect  passed  the  lower  House  with  only  four  dissenting  voices,  such 
was  the  unanimity  on  the  subject ;  but  it  was  defeated  in  the  Senate, 
where  there  were  a  majority  of  Mr.  Crawford's  friends.  So  great 
was  the  excitement  in  the  State,  that  the  Governor  called  an  extra- 
session  of  the  legislature  to  execute  the  will  of  the  people.  But  the 
Senate  again  defeated  the  bill,  and  the  Assembly  adjourned  without 
doing  any  thing.  All  this  was  done  in  the  name  of  liberty.  The 
majority  of  the  Senate  assumed  to  be  the  only  true  exponents  of  re- 
publicanism, and  Mr.  Crawford  as  its  only  true  representative,  and 
in  order  to  carry  their  measures,  committed  great  violence  on  their 
own  principles.  But  even  the  legislature  would  not  sustain  this 
violent  effort  to  force  the  State  to  cast  her  vote  for  one  she  did  not 
prefer. 


232  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

When  the  nominations  were  made,  Mr.  Crawford  got  only  four 
out  of  the  thirty-six  electoral  votes  of  New-York. 

The  events  of  this  presidential  campaign  furnish  an  instructive 
page  of  history,  which  should  be  well  considered  by  the  people.  It 
was  just  the  combination  of  circumstances  to  tempt  ambitious  men 
to  form  coalitions  for  their  own  personal  ends,  and  to  make  a 
regular  bargain  and  sale  of  the  rights  of  the  people.  In  the  absence 
of  all  political  principle — in  a  mere  contest  between  individuals  for 
power — what  was  to  prevent  a  union  of  the  North  and  the  South,  or 
the  East  and  the  West,  in  a  regular  contract  for  a  division  of  the 
spoils?  There  was  no  election  by  the  people.  Adams,  Crawford. 
Clay  and  Jackson,  were  all  voted  for,  but  no  one  obtained  a  majority 
of  the  electoral  colleges.  The  duty  of  making  a  choice  between  the 
three  highest  candidates  now  devolved  on  the  House  of  Representa- 
tives. For  a  long  time  Mr.  Clay  was  expected  to  be  one  of  the  three. 
The  vote  of  Louisiana,  which  his  friends  expected,  being  given 
against  him,  caused  Mr.  Crawford  to  have  a  few  more  votes  than  he, 
and  the  contest  was  between  Jackson,  who  had  the  highest  number 
of  votes  in  the  electoral  colleges,  Adams,  and  Crawford.  Mr.  Clay. 
from  his  great  influence,  had  entire  control  of  the  election.  He  de- 
cided in  favor  of  Mr.  Adams,  and  immediately  accepted,  at  his  hands, 
the  office  of  Secretary  of  State.  He  was  openly  charged  in  the  House 
of  Representatives  with  bargain  and  corruption.  He  repelled  the 
charge  with  becoming  indignation.  The  reasons  he  gave  for  voting 
for  Mr.  Adams  were  just — situated  as  he  was,  he  could  not  have 
voted  otherwise — but  the  fact  of  his  accepting  office  from  the  man  he 
himself  had  elevated  into  the  seat  of  power,  condemned  him.  He 
should  have  given  the  vote,  but  declined  the  office.  His  own  con- 
sciousness of  innocence  may  have  sustained  him  in  the  performance 
of  the  deed,  but  it  could  not  screen  him  from  the  inferences  that 
would  be  drawn  from  it  by  a  censorious  world.  Men's  motives  are 
known  only  to  themselves ;  language,  says  Talleyrand,  was  given  to 
conceal  them  ;  and  that  which  is  avowed,  is  rarely  the  true  cause  of 
any  action.  Knowing  these  things,  it  is  not  surprising  that  a 
jealous  and  censorious  world  will  at  least  sasjoect  the  motive,  where 
the  act  and  the  circumstances  might  justify  the  imputation  of  a  bad 
one. 

During  the  time  of  the  ballotting,  an  incident  took  place  that  was 


HIS  CONSTITUENTS.  233 

very  characteristic  of  John  Randolph  ;  it  showed  his  great  accuracy  in 
the  statement  of  a  fact,  at  the  same  time  his  jealous  observance  not 
only  of  the  rights  of  the  States,  but  even  of  the  forms  and  expres- 
sions in  which  those  rights  might  be  involved.  Mr.  Webster  was 
appointed  by  the  tellers  who  sat  at  one  table,  and  Mr.  Randolph  by 
those  at  the  other,  to  announce  the  result  of  the  ballotting.  After  the 
ballots  were  counted  out,  Mr.  Webster  rose,  and  said  :  Mr.  Speaker, 
the  tellers  of  the  votes  at  this  table  have  proceeded  to  count  the  bal- 
lots contained  in  the  box  set  before  them  ;  the  result  they  find  to  be, 
that  there  are  for  John  Quincy  Adams,  of  Massachusetts,  13  votes; 
for  Andrew  Jackson,  of  Tennessee,  7  votes  ;  for  Wm.  H.  Crawford,  of 
Georgia,  4  votes. 

Mr.  Randolph,  from  the  other  table,  made  a  statement  corres- 
ponding with  that  of  Mr.  Webster,  in  the  facts,  but  varying  in  the 
phraseology,  so  as  to  say  that  Mr.  Adams,  Mr.  Jackson,  and  Mr. 
Crawford,  had  received  the  votes  of  so  many  States,  instead  of  so 
many  votes. 


M 


CHAPTER    XXVILI. 


SUCH     CONSTITUENTS    AS    MAN    NEVER     HAD    BEFORE,     AND 
NEVER  WILL   HAVE    AGAIN." 


From  Charlotte  Court-house,  Tuesday,  April  5th,  1825,  Mr.  Ran- 
dolph writes  to  Dr.  Brockenbrough  :  "  Much  against  my  will — I 
do  not  deceive  myself — I  am  involved  in  another  election.  Two 
more  years,  if  I  live  as  long,  in  that  bear  garden,  the  House  of 
Representatives !  You  ask  after  my  health,  it  is  wretched  in  the 
extreme.  Nothing  but  an  earnest  desire  to  avoid  the  imputation  of 
giving  myself  airs,  brought  me  here  yesterday."  He  was  at  Prince 
Edward  Court-house,  also,  on  Monday,  the  18th — the  day  of  elec- 
tion in  that  county.  It  was  the  first  time  the  writer  of  this  memoir 
had  the  pleasure  of  seeing  Mr.  Randolph  among  his  constituents,  or 
hearing  him  on  the  hustings.  He  was  then  a  lad  at  the  neighboring 
college — Hampden  Sydney.  That  day  was  given  as  a  holiday  to 
the  students,  and  they  all  repaired  at  an  early  hour  to  the  Court- 


234  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

house  to  see  the  wonderful  man  of  whom  they  had  heard  so  much. 
I   saw  Mr.  Randolph  when  he  arrived  on  the  "  court  green  ;"  he 
alighted  from  his  sulky  some  distance  from  the   Court-house,  and 
handed  over  the  reins  to  Johnny,  who  was  in  an  instant  by  his  side. 
He  was  dressed  in  his  old  "  uniform  of  blue  and  buff."  with  knee- 
buckles,  and  long  fair-top  boots.     He  seemed  to  limp  slightly  in  his 
gait,  which   only  added   dignity  and   gravity  to  his  carriage.     The 
moment  his  arrival  was  known,  the  people  came  flocking  from  all 
directions  towards  him.   The  tavern-porches,  the  shops,  and  offices,  were 
soon  emptied,  and  every  body  went  running  towards  the  great  object 
of  attraction.     His  old  acquaintances  (and  who  were  not  old  acquaint- 
ances there  ?)  were  eager  to  take  him  by  the  hand  ;  they  pressed  for- 
ward without  ceremony,  and  their  greetings  were  most  cordially  re- 
ciprocated.    To  all  the  old  men  he    had  something  to  say,  pointed 
and   appropriate,  that  seemed  to  give  them  infinite  satisfaction — a 
word  of  recognition,  that  meant  more  than  it  expressed,  and  went 
home  to  the  heart.     He  marched  slowly  towards  the  Court-house, 
still  greeting  and   talking  with  his  friends,  as  they  came  up  to  take 
him  by  the  hand.     Many  followed  him,  doubtless,  from  curiosity  ;  but 
much  the  largest  portion  of  the  crowd  that  hovered  around  him. 
were  men  who  had  known  him  all  their  lives,  and  had  seen  him  a 
hundred  times  before ;  yet  they  followed  him  with  as  much  interest 
as  the  youngest  school-boy  there,  and  their  eyes  could  not  be  sated  by 
gazing  upon   him.      Such  is  the  magic  influence  of  genius  and  of 
true  greatness  on  the  human  mind.     'Tis  said  that  Robert  Burns 
could  not  arrive  at  an  inn,  at  midnight,  without  its  being  known  to 
all  the  inmates,  who  would  come  flocking,  even  in  their  night  gar- 
ments, to  see,  for  the  twentieth  time,  perhaps,  the  enchanting  coun- 
tenance of  Scotland's   noblest  bard,  who,  like  Randolph,  from  his 
earliest  youth,  had  no  other  thought  but  to  serve  and  adorn  his  na- 
tive land. 

"  E'n  then  a  wish  (I  mind  its  power), 
A  wish,  that  to  my  latest  hour 

Shall  strongly  heave  my  breast — 
That  I,  for  poor  auld  Scotland's  sake, 
Some  usefu'  plan  or  hook  could  make, 
Or  sing  a  sang  at  least." 

Mr.  Randolph  was  pressed  to  make  a  speech.     He  pleaded  his 
wretched  health,  and  begged  to  be  excused.     But  no  excuse  would  be 


HIS  CONSTITUENTS.  235 

taken  ;  his  old  friends  wanted  to  hear  him  ;  it  was  a  long  time  since 
they  had  that  pleasure  ;  great  changes  had  taken  place  in  politics ; 
they  had  heard  much  ahout  them,  but  wanted  to  hear  from  his  own 
lips  how  the  matter  stood.  Finding  that  no  apology  would  be  taken, 
that  such  men  as  the  Mortons,  the  Prices,  the  Watkins'  and  the  Ven- 
ables,  were  urging  on  him  to  say  something  to  gratify  the  people,  he 
at  length  consented ;  and  retiring  from  the  multitude,  he  sat  down 
on  an  oaken  bench  in  the  corner  of  the  Court-house  yard,  and  rested 
his  head  on  the  end  of  his  umbrella.  No  one  approached  or  dis- 
turbed him.  After  sitting  some  ten  or  fifteen  minutes,  he  arose,  and 
asked  the  sheriff  to  make  proclamation  that  he  would  address  the 
people.  There  was  no  need  of  that ;  they  were  all  there,  pressing 
around,  and  waiting  patiently  his  pleasure  to  speak  to  them.  As  he 
approached  the  stile,  the  crowd  receded,  and  opened  a  way  for  him 
to  pass.  I  followed  in  his  wake,  unconscious  of  what  I  was  doing, 
and  stood  near  his  left  side,  where  I  could  hear  every  word  that  was 
uttered,  and  see  every  motion  of  every  muscle  of  the  whole  man.  I 
was  too  young  to  remember  what  was  said,  at  this  distance  of  time. 
The  newspapers  said  he  "addressed  his  constituents  in  a  manner  and 
with  matter  which  gave  great  and  universal  satisfaction.  He  des- 
canted, with  great  eloquence  and  power,  on  the  alarming  encroack- 
ments  of  the  General  Government  upo?i  the  rights  of  tlie  States"  I 
have  no  doubt  that  was  the  theme  of  his  discourse.  But  what  I  saw 
I  shall  never  forget — the  manner  of  the  man.  The  tall,  slender  fig- 
ure, swarthy  complexion,  animated  countenance ;  the  solemn  glance, 
that  passed  leisurely  over  the  audience,  hushed  into  deep  silence  be- 
fore him,  and  bending  forward  to  catch  every  look,  every  motion  and 
every  word  of  the  inspired  orator  ;  the  clear,  silver  tones  of  his 
voice ;  the  distinct  utterance — full,  round  expression,  and  emphasis 
of  his  words  ;  the  graceful  bend  and  easy  motion  of  the  person,  as  he 
turned  from  side  to  side ;  the  rapid,  lightning-like  sweep  of  the 
hand  when  something  powerful  was  uttered ;  the  earnest,  fixed  gaze, 
that  followed,  as  if  searching  into  the  hearts  of  his  auditors,  while 
his  words  were  telling  upon  them ;  then,  the  ominous  pause,  and  the 
twinkling  of  that  long,  slender  forefinger,  that  accompanied  the 
keen,  cutting  sarcasm  of  his  words — all  these  I  can  never  forget. 
My  beau  ideal  of  the  orator  was  complete.  What  I  had  read  of  De- 
mosthenes and  Cicero,  aided  by  the  lights  of  Longinus  and  Quinctil- 


236  LIFE  0F  J0HN  RANDOLPH. 

ian,  was  fulfilled  in  this  man.  I  have  heard  him  several  times  since 
from  the  same  place.  Those  who  have  heard  him  elsewhere  concur 
in  the  opinion,  that  before  the  people  of  Prince  Edward  he  was  pecu- 
liarly free  and  happy.  These  were  the  people  that  stood  by  him  in 
the  darkest  hour  of  his  fortunes ;  "  when  two  administrations"  and 
the  whole  political  press  made  war  upon  him,  they  shielded  him  from 
the  assaults  of  his  enemies,  and  cheered  him  in  the  desolate  and  dan- 
gerous path  he  had  to  tread,  by  the  light  of  their  countenance  and 
the  voice  of  their  approbation.  It  is  not  wonderful,  then,  that  in 
the  presence  of  such  a  people,  the  reminiscences  of  the  olden  time 
should  rekindle  the  slumbering  fires  of  his  heart,  and  inspire  his 
thoughts  with  more  than  their  wonted  force  and  brilliancy. 

From  the  stand,  Mr.  Randolph  retired  to  the  bench  in  the  Court- 
house. The  polls  were  opened,  and  the  voting  commenced.  Each 
one,  as  he  came  up,  pronounced  with  a  clear  and  audible  voice  the 
name  of  John  Randolph  as  the  person  voted  for  for  Congress.  There 
was  not  a  dissenting  voice.  When  any  one  of  the  old  men  gave  his 
vote,  Mr.  Randolph  partly  rose  from  his  seat,  and  in  the  most  bland 
and  affecting  manner  thanked  him  for  his  vote.  He  seemed  to  say, 
I  am  grateful,  sir,  and  proud  to  have  the  approbation  of  a  man  of 
your  independence,  understanding,  integrity,  and  weight  of  character. 
The  old  man  returned  the  salutation  with  a  look  that  said,  I  am 
proud,  also,  to  have  the  privilege  of  voting  for  you,  Mr.  Randolph. 
There  was  no  pretence,  no  affectation  in  all  tins  ;  it  was  natural, 
spontaneous,  and,  to  those  who  knew  the  history  of  the  parties  and 
their  relations  to  each  other,  it  was  truly  affecting.  No  one  could 
look  upon  the  scene  without  exclaiming,  that  with  such  constituents 
and  such  representatives,  no  danger  or  harm  could  befall  the  Repub- 
lic. They  were  men,  for  the  most  part,  owners  of  the  soil,  and  living 
by  its  cultivation ;  men  who,  from  their  youth  up,  by  the  daily  read- 
ing of  the  best  conducted  political  journals,  and  their  monthly  con- 
versations and  discussions  at  the  Court-house  on  political  topics,  had 
become  familiar  with  the  institutions  of  their  country  and  the  man- 
ner in  which  they  had  been  conducted — who  knew  the  characters  of 
all  public  men  that  had  l'isen  above  a  neighborhood  reputation,  and 
could  judge  dispassionately  and  without  enthusiasm  of  their  objects 
and  the  tendency  of  their  measures — they  were  models  of  republican 
simplicity,  intelligence,  and  virtue.     The  same,  for  the  most  pair 


HIS  CONSTITUENTS.  237 

may  be  said  of  all  Mr.  Randolph's  district.  He  had  represented 
them  for  five  and  twenty  years ;  they  all  knew  him — men,  women, 
and  children — and  he  knew  them.  These  are  the  people  of  whom  he 
spoke,  when  he  said,  on  a  memorable  occasion  in  the  House  of  Rep- 
resentatives : 

••  I  will  go  back  to  the  bosom  of  my  constituents — to  such  con- 
stituents as  man  never  had  before,  and  never  will  have  again — and  I 
shall  receive  from  them  the  only  reward  that  I  ever  looked  for,  but 
the  highest  that  man  can  receive — the  universal  expression  of  their 
approbation — of  their  thanks.  I  shall  read  it  in  their  beaming  faces  ; 
I  shall  feel  it  in  their  gratulating  hands.  The  very  children  will 
climb  around  my  knees,  to  welcome  me.  And  shall  I  give  up  them. 
and  this  ?  And  for  what  ?  For  the  heartless  amusements  and  va- 
pid pleasures  and  tarnished  honors  of  this  abode  of  splendid  misery, 
of  shabby  splendor  ?  for  a  clerkship  in  the  war  office,  or  a  foreign  mis- 
sion, to  dance  attendance  abroad,  instead  of  at  home — or  even  for  a 
Department  itself?  Sir,  thirty  years  make  sad  changes  in  man. 
When  I  first  was  honored  with  their  confidence.  I  was  a  very  young 
man,  and  my  constituents  stood  almost  in  parental  relation  to  me,  and 
I  received  from  them  the  indulgence  of  a  beloved  son.  But  the  old 
patriarchs  of  that  day  have  been  gathered  to  their  fathers — some  adults 
remain,  whom  I  look  upon  as  my  brethren :  but  the  far  greater  part 
were  children — little  children — or  have  come  into  the  world  since  my 
public  life  began.  I  know  among  them,  grand-fathers,  and  men  mus- 
ter-free, who  were  boys  at  school  when  I  first  took  my  seat  in  Con- 
gress. Time,  the  mighty  reformer  and  innovator,  has  silently  and 
slowly,  but  surely  changed  the  relation  between  us  ;  and  I  now  stand 
to  them  in  loco  parentis — in  the  place  of  a  father — and  receive  from 
them  a  truly  filial  reverence  and  regard.  Yes,  sir,  they  are  my  chil- 
dren— who  resent,  with  the  quick  love  of  children,  all  my  wrongs, 
real  or  supposed.  Shall  I  not  invoke  the  blessings  of  our  common 
Father  upon  them.  Shall  I  deem  any  sacrifice  too  great  for  them? 
To  them  I  shall  return,  if  we  are  defeated,  for  all  of  consolation  that 
awaits  me  on  this  side  of  the  grave.  I  feel  that  I  hang  to  existence 
but  by  a  single  hair — the  sword  of  Damocles  is  suspended  over  me." 

Mr.  Randolph  spent  the  summer  in  his  usual  solitude  at  Roan- 
oke.    In  June,  he  says  to  Dr.  Brockenbrough : 

••  You  are  very  good  in  taking  time  to  write  to  me,  but  I  hope 
you  will  continue  to  do  so,  notwithstanding  the  drudgery  of  penman- 
ship that  you  are  subjected  to — for  your  letters  constitute  the  only 
link  between  me  and  the  world,  at  present — a  world  where  I  have 
but  a  little  while  longer  to  stay.  I  feel  those  internal  monitions  (of 
which  the  patient  alone  is  sensible)  that  convince  me  that  I  cannot 


238  LIFE  0F  J0HN  RANDOLPH. 

hold  out  much  longer,  and  although  life  has  no  one  attraction  left  for 
me,  I  cannot  hut  look  towards  its  point  of  dissolution,  with  some  mis- 
givings of  mind.  We  shall  probably  never  meet  again  on  this  side 
of  the  grave:  beyond  it,  all  is  involved  in  obscurity.  I  have  just  as 
much  expectation  of  living  to  the  end  of  the  century,  as  to  the  close 
of  the  year.  There  is  nothing  left  now  for  regimen  or  medicine  to 
act  upon.   I  have  never  been  in  such  a  condition  ;  not  even  in  1817." 

July  8th,  he  says  : — "  Your  kind  letter  of  the  3d  has  just  arrived 
to  throw  a  cheerful  ray  over  my  clouded  mind.  Although  I  stood  in 
no  need  of  any  such  assurance,  yet  the  declaration  it  contained  at  the 
outset  gave  me  most  sensible  gratification.  I  believe  we  have  dealt 
as  little  in  professions  as  any  persons  similarly  circumstanced  ever 
did  ;  and  for  a  plain  reason — neither  of  us  distrusted  the  sincerity 
of  his  sentiments  towards  the  other.  My  dear  friend,  my  strength 
ebbs  apace.  My  health  (like  the  stocks)  fluctuates,  but  gets  worse. 
I  have  lost  my  grasp  upon  the  world.  If  it  be  not  mad — then  I  am. 
Its  political,  religious  and  commercial  relationships  are,  in  my  view, 
irrational  and  contemptible ;  but  I  still  cherish  a  warm  feeling  of 
regard  and  of  interest  in  the  welfare  of  those  who  have  manifested 
kindly  dispositions  towards  me.  Indeed,  I  wish  well  to  all — I  must 
except  a  few  '  caitiffs' — and  would  do  good  to  all,  if  it  was  in  my 
power.  Among  those  who  have  shown  me  favor,  I  set  high  value  upon 
the  attachment  of  Frank  Gilmer ;  and  I  too  had  a  very  strong  desire  for 
his  sake,  that  he  would  take  the  professorship.  I  was  concerned  to 
learn  by  a  late  letter  from  Mr.  Barksdale.  that  he  looked  very  ill.  and 
was  more  desponding  than  when  B.  saw  him  in  March.  When  you 
write  to  him,  name  me  among  those  who  think  often  and  always  kind- 
ly of  him. 

4i  The  rains  have  destroyed  our  crops  of  every  description  but  In- 
dian corn,  and  that  is  much  injured.  If  I  live  as  long,  which  I  do 
not  at  all  look  forward  to,  I  shall  assuredly  take  the  voyage  you 
mention.  It  is  dreary  enough  to  be  in  a  land  of  strangers,  a  cipher 
and  at  sufferance  ;  but  any  thing  is  better  than  the  horrors  of  this 
climate,  and  indeed  our  state  of  society  and  manners  is  so  changed, 
that  were  I  to  remain  here,  it  must  be  in  a  sort  of  dreamy  existence, 
among  my  books  and  shades,  ignorant  of  what  might  be  passing  in 
the  world  around  me. 

"  Jarvis,  I  remember,  some  fourteen  years  ago,  made  me  laugh 
very  heartily  at  poor  Nicholson's  table  in  Baltimore ;  but  I  might 
defy  him  now  to  raise  even  a  smile,  except  of  'such  a  sort'  as  Ju- 
lius Caesar  could  not  endure.  You  are  right  to  be  as  convivial  as 
you  can  ;  soberly,  as  Lady  Grace  says.  Dulce  est  desipere.  I  am 
persuaded  that  our  self-righteous  denouncers  of  our  old-fashioned 
sports  and  pastimes  have  added  nothing  to  the  stock  of  our  morali- 
ty ;    our  young  men  and  boys  have  exchanged  the  five's-court,  and 


HIS  CONSTITUENTS.  239 

other  athletic  exercises,  for  the  tavern-bench,  squirting  tobacco-juice, 
and  drinking  whisky-grog.  The  girls,  instead  of  balls  and  dress, 
&c,  discourse  of  original  sin — 'fixed  fate,  free  will,  foreknowledge 
absolute.'  But  after  all,  we  shall  look  in  vain  for  the  worth  or  man- 
ners of  the  last  generation. 

'•  I  read  little  but  Dr.  Barrow,  and  not  much  of  him.  I  have 
sometimes  thought  of  attacking  Atterbury  and  South  ;  but  after  a 
short  application,  my  eyes  become  dim  and  my  head  swims,  and  I 
have  to  take  a  turn  or  two  about  the  room  to  recover  myself.  I 
would  not  trouble  you  with  this  long  (for  such  it  is)  and  stupid  letter, 
but  for  the  assurance  that  it  is  gratifying  to  you  to  hear  from  me  in 
my  present  reduced  condition.  You  may  judge  what  it  is,  when  I 
tell  you  that  I  have  not  seen  my  plantation  since  my  return  from 
Europe. 

"  Butler's  Reminiscences  I  read  two  years  ago,  and  was  much  dis- 
appointed in  them.  Do  you  note  an  article  in  the  Edinburgh  Review 
on  the  subject  of  the  West  Indies?  It  is  written  in  a  most  fero- 
cious spirit  of  philanthropy.  My  infirmity  admonishes  me  to  lay 
down  my  pen." 

The  monotony  and  tedium  of  his  solitary  life  were  greatly  re- 
lieved by  a  visit  from  his  friends,  Dr.  and  Mrs.  Brockenbrough,  in 
the  month  of  October.  They  spent  a  week  with  him.  Most  of  his 
correspondence,  before  and  after,  was  in  reference  to  this  visit.  It 
was  an  important  era  in  the  chronicles  of  Roanoke.  November  25th, 
he  writes,  "  I  am  truly  glad  the  agues  fled  before  the  thing  with  the 
hard  name.  Old  Mrs.  D.  says  of  you,  any  body  may  see  from  his 
face  that  he  is  a  mighty  clever  man.  What  say  you  to  that,  my  dear 
madam  1  *  *  *  *  You  know  me  well ;  '  distrust '  is  a  sin  that  I 
cannot  easily  forgive.  I  can  truly  say  that  the  pleasantest  week  by 
far  that  I  have  spent  for  years,  was  that  that  you  and  Mrs.  B. 
spent  here." 

Mr.  Randolph  was  detained  at  home  on  business  till  late  in  De- 
cember. He  did  not  arrive  in  Washington — '•  Babylon,"  as  he  called 
it — till  Christinas.  In  the  mean  time,  he  had  been  elected  to  the 
Senate  of  the  United  States,  to  fill  the  vacancy  occasioned  by  the  re- 
signation of  Gov.  James  Barbour,  who  had  been  appointed,  by  Mr. 
Adams,  Secretary  of  War. 

The  election  took  place  the  17th  of  December.  The  candidates 
nominated  were  Judge  Henry  St.  George  Tucker,  the  half-brother 
of  Mr.  Randolph,  William  B.  Giles,  John  Floyd,  and  John  Ran- 
dolph.    On  the  first  ballot,  the  vote   stood  :   Tucker  65,  Randolph 


240  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

63.  Giles  58,  Floyd  40.  According  to  the  rule  of  the  House,  Mr. 
Floyd  was  dropped,  and  the  second  ballot  stood:  Tucker  87,  Randolph 
79,  Giles  60.  Mr.  Giles  being  likewise  dropped  under  the  rules,  and 
the  members  having  prepared  and  deposited  their  ballots  in  the 
boxes,  Mr.  Jackson  on  the  part  of  the  friends  of  Mr.  Tucker,  rose 
and  stated  to  the  House,  that  it  was  the  desire  of  Mr.  Tucker,  in 
no  event,  to  be  placed  in  competition  with  Mr.  Randolph.  Con- 
sidering that  Mr.  R.  had  no  chance  of  being  elected,  they  had  on 
their  own  responsibility,  put  Mr.  Tucker  in  nomination.  But  as  the 
collision  was  now  between  these  two  gentlemen,  they  thought  it  due 
to  Mr.  Tucker's  feelings  and  request  to  withdraw  his  name.  Some 
conversation  then  ensued,  in  which  it  was  suggested  that  the  ballot- 
boxes  ought  to  be  emptied  and  the  ballots  again  collected.  Mr. 
Jackson  declared  he  did  not  know  the  ballots  had  been  put  in  the 
boxes,  or  he  should  have  withdrawn  Mr.  Tucker  sooner.  One  gen- 
tleman remarked  that  the  person  who  had  been  last  dropped,  ought, 
under  these  circumstances,  to  be  again  before  the  House.  But  the 
chair  decided,  that  as  the  ballots  had  been  all  deposited  in  the  boxes, 
and  there  being  no  mistake  or  irregularity,  they  must  be  counted 
under  the  rule  of  the  House  This  was  accordingly  done,  and  the 
ballots  stood,  Randolph  104,  Tucker  80.  Mr.  Randolph,  having  a 
majority,  was  declared  duly  elected. 

On  the  reception  of  the  news  of  this  election,  through  a  letter 
from  Dr.  Brockenbrough,  Judge  Tucker  thus  responds :  "  I  have 
barely  time  before  the  closing  of  the  mail  to  acknowledge  the  receipt 
of  your  friendly  letter,  and  to  express  my  hearty  concurrence  in  the 
gratification  you  feel  at  the  election  of  my  brother.  I  could  wish  in- 
deed that  my  name  had  been  withheld,  yet  hope  that  its  withdrawal 
even  at  the  time  it  took  place,  was  not  too  late  to  manifest  my  de- 
ference to  him.  God  preserve  him  long  as  an  honor  to  his  station 
and  the  Old  Dominion.  I  cannot  but  think  that  this  occurrence  will 
reanimate  his  spirit,  and  restore  him  to  that  activity  in  the  public 
councils  for  which  he  was  always  remarkable,  until  he  thought  him- 
self unkindly  treated  by  his  native  State.  He  will  now,  I  trust,  see 
in  himself  her  favorite  son." 


THE  ADAMS  ADMINISTRATION.  241 

CHAPTER    XXIX. 

THE   ADAMS  ADMINISTRATION. 

The  reader  is  already  aware  that  Mr.  Randolph  took  no  interest  in 
the  late  Presidential  contest.  There  were  circumstances  that  inclined 
him  to  favor  the  pretensions  of  Mr.  Crawford  ;  but  it  was  a  mere 
personal  preference  ;  and  as  there  were  no  principles  involved  in  the 
controversy,  he  left  the  country  with  rather  a  feeling  of  indiiference 
as  to  the  result  of  the  election.  But  no  sooner  was  the  contest  de- 
cided by  the  election  of  John  Quincy  Adams  in  the  House  of  Repre- 
sentatives, than  Mr.  Randolph  gave  unequivocal  evidences  of  hos- 
tility to  the  new  administration.  For  this  he  has  been  blamed  by 
many  persons.  It  seemed  like  a  pre-determination  to  condemn  men 
when  they  as  yet  had  perpetrated  no  act  worthy  of  condemnation. 
But  it  must  not  be  forgotten  that  we  have  a  written  Constitution, 
containing  the  fundamental  law  of  all  our  political  institutions.  We 
have  a  Federal  Government  and  State  Governments,  each  with 
limited  and  specified  powers,  and  acting  as  mutual  checks  and  balances 
to  each  other.  An  over-action  on  the  part  of  the  one  or  the  other 
would  destroy  the  equilibrium,  and  endanger  the  existence  of  our 
complicated  and  nicely-adjusted  system  of  Government.  Hence  the 
necessity  of  a  scheme  of  doctrine,  or  rules  of  interpretation,  by  which 
the  Constitution  was  to  be  construed,  and  the  different  departments 
guided  in  their  administration  of  the  Government.  Our  statesmen 
have  something  more  to  do  than  advise  measures.  They  have  to 
show  that  those  measures  are  sanctioned  by  the  Constitution,  and 
that,  in  their  final  result,  they  will  not  disturb  the  harmony  of  the 
system. 

In  consequence  of  this  necessity  imposed  on  our  public  men,  there 
had  grown  up  at  a  very  early  period  two  distinct  schools  of  politicians 
differing  widely  in  their  doctrines  and  rules  of  interpretation.  But 
during  the  recent  administration,  as  the  reader  is  aware,  these  dis 
tinctions  were  effaced,  and  men  seemed  to  stand  on  the  same  platform 
professing  a  general,  vague,  undefined  belief  in  the  doctrines  of  repub 
licanism.     Mr.  Adams,  having  acted  a  conspicuous  part  under  Mr 

VOL.  II.  1 1 


242  LIFE  °F  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

Monroe,  had  now  to  take  an  independent  position,  and  to  mark  out  a 
line  of  policy  for  himself.  Rising  from  a  subaltern  station  into  the 
chief  magistracy  of  the  Republic,  where  he  could  not  be  restrained 
by  the  authority  of  superiors,  one  would  naturally  suppose  that  his 
mind  would  take  the  direction  of  its  early  thoughts  and  associations. 
Mr.  Adams's  early  education  unfitted  him  to  associate  with  those 
statesmen  who  looked  with  jealousy  on  the  Federal  Government,  who 
deprecated  its  over-action  as  dangerous  to  the  Union,  and  who  abste- 
miously exercised  those  powers  that  had  been  actually  delegated  to 
it.  Being  the  son  of  the  late  President  John  Adams,  he  received  his 
education  mostly  abroad,  while  his  father,  as  Minister  of  the  United 
States,  attended  the  various  courts  of  Europe.  At  a  very  early 
period,  before  he  had  performed  any  public  service  whatever,  General 
Washington,  doubtless,  in  compliment  to  his  father,  appointed  him 
Minister  Plenipotentiary  to  the  Hague.  During  the  eventful  period 
of  his  father's  administration,  he  continued  abroad  in  daily  connec- 
tion with  the  habits,  opinions,  and  associations  of  the  royal  courts  to 
which  he  was  successively  transferred  as  Minister  of  the  United 
States. 

After  the  political  revolution  of  1800  had  condemned  the  admin- 
istration of  John  Adams,  and  driven  him  from  the  helm  of  affairs, 
one  of  his  last  acts  was  the  recall  of  his  son,  to  save  him  frjDin  the 
mortification  of  being  dismissed  by  Mr.  Jefferson. 

Soon  after  his  return,  John  Quincy  Adams  was  elected  to  the 
Senate  of  the  United  States  from  Massachusetts.  He  was  elected 
as  a  federalist  by  a  federalist  Legislature ;  and  one  of  his  first  acts 
in  the  Senate  was  to  oppose  the  purchase  of  Louisiana,  then  the  favo- 
rite measure  of  the  republican  party.  But  he  had  not  been  in  the 
Senate  long  before  an  eventful  and  radical  change  took  place  in  his 
public  conduct.  The  restrictive  policy  of  Mr.  Jefferson,  as  the  reader 
is  aware,  was  very  much  opposed  in  New  England.  It  crippled  their 
commerce,  on  which  they  were  mainly  dependent  for  support.  The 
embargo,  in  1808,  capped  the  climax  of  restriction  ;  and  the  opposi- 
tion in  New  England,  led  on  by  the  old  federal  leaders,  knew  no 
bounds  in  their  denunciations  of  those  measures,  which  they  regarded 
as  so  destructive  of  their  interests. 

Mr.  Adams  conceived  the  idea,  or  was  informed  by  what  he 
deemed  good  authority,  that  his  old  friends  and  associates  were  about 


THE  ADAMS  ADMINISTRATION.  243 

to  commit  an  act  of  treason  to  the  country  ;  that  so  deep  was  their 
hostility  to  the  measures  of  the  Government,  and  so  great  their  deter- 
mination to  get  rid  of  the  burthen,  that  they  contemplated  a  separa- 
tion from  the  Union.  Through  the  interposition  of  a  distinguished 
Senator,  he  called  on  the  President,  and  communicated  to  him  his 
apprehensions. 

He  spoke  of  the  dissatisfaction  of  the  eastern  portion  of  our  Con- 
federacy with  the  restraints  of  the  embargo.  That  there  was  nothing 
which  might  not  be  attempted  to  rid  themselves  of  it.  That  he  had 
information  of  the  most  unquestionable  certainty,  that  certain  citizens 
of  the  Eastern  States  (naming  Massachusetts  particularly)  were  in 
negotiation  with  agents  of  the  British  Government,  the  object  of  which 
was  an  agreement  that  the  New  England  States  should  take  no  further 
part  in  the  proceedings  of  the  Federal  Government ;  that,  without  form- 
ally declaring  their  separation  from  the  union  of  the  States,  they  should 
withdraw  from  all  aid  and  obedience  to  them  ;  that  their  navigation  and 
commerce  should  be  free  from  restraint  or  interruption  by  the  British  ; 
that  they  should  be  considered  and  treated  by  them  as  neutrals,  and 
as  such  might  conduct  themselves  towards  both  parties.  He  assured 
Mr.  Jefferson  that  there  was  imminent  danger  that  a  separation 
would  take  place  ;  that  the  temptations  were  such  as  might  debauch 
many  from  their  fidelity  to  the  Union.  The  course  of  Mr.  Adams 
brought  upon  him  the  hostility  of  his  own  legislature :  another  per- 
son was  elected  to  succeed  him,  and  he  was  instructed,  during  the 
remnant  of  his  term,  to  oppose  the  measures  of  the  administration. 
He  retired  from  a  position  he  could  no  longer  hold  with  honor.  The 
purity  of  his  motives  was  defended  in  the  Senate  by  a  member  of 
the  administration  party  against  the  denunciations  of  his  late  col- 
league, who  manifested    feelings   of  the    deepest   hostility  towards 

him. 

Soon  after  his  retirement,  Mr.  Adams  was  tendered  a  mission  to 
the  court  of  St  Petersburg,  but  the  Senate  did  not  think  such  a  mis- 
sion at  that  time  was  necessary,  and  did  not  confirm  the  appointment. 
He  was  renominated  by  Mr.  Madison  on  his  accession  to  the  Presi- 
dency, and  the  appointment  was  confirmed  by  the  Senate.  Mr. 
Adams  continued  abroad  in  various  diplomatic  capacities  till  the 
summer  of  1817,  when  he  was  recalled  by  Mr.  Monroe,  and  placed  at 
the  head  of  his  administration  as  Secretary  of  State. 


244  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH 

During  this  "  era  of  good  feelings"  nothing  occurred  to  develope 
the  opinions  of  Mr.  Adams  as  to  the  true  construction  of  the  Consti- 
tution. He  is  known  to  have  favored  the  magnificent  schemes  of  that 
day,  and  is  thought  to  have  had  much  influence  over  the  mind  of 
Mr.  Monroe  in  producing  the  great  change  of  sentiment  on  the  sub- 
ject of  internal  improvement.  Thus  we  perceive  that  the  early  edu- 
cation, and  the  diplomatic  career  of  Mr.  Adams  in  the  midst  of  royal 
courts,  and  the  strongly  concentrated  and  despotic  governments  of 
an  hereditary  aristocracy,  illy  fitted  him  to  appreciate  the  unpretend- 
ing and  abstemious  doctrines  of  that  republican  school  for  which  he 
abandoned  his  old  friends,  and,  as  they  say,  basely  calumniated  them. 
His  change  of  position  did  not  involve  a  change  of  politics.  He 
merely  exchanged  a  broken  and  divided  party  for  one  in  the  ascend- 
ant. There  never  was  an  occasion  to  test  the  sincerity  of  this  change 
until  he  was  elected  President  of  the  United  States.  In  this  ex- 
alted station,  unrestrained  by  the  routine  of  office,  he  was  not  long 
in  manifesting  the  bold  and  ardent  aspirations  of  his  mind.  Endowed 
with  a  poetic  genius  and  an  ardent  imagination,  possessing  a  quick, 
irascible,  and  obstinate  temper,  a  man  of  the  closet,  wholly  unused 
to  the  restraints  and  the  caution  of  legislative  experience,  he  mounted 
the  chair  of  state  with  the  boldness  and  the  confidence  of  Phaeton 
into  the  chariot  of  the  sun. 

The  great  idea  that  filled  the  mind  and  kindled  the  imagination 
of  Mr.  Adams  was  a  magnificent  scheme  of  internal  improvement,  to 
be  constructed  by  the  General  Government.  In  his  inaugural  address 
he  recurs  to  the  subject,  as  he  says,  with  peculiar  satisfaction.  "  It 
is  that,"  he  continues,  "  from  which  I  am  convinced  that  the  unborn 
millions  of  our  posterity  who  are  in  future  ages  to  people  this  conti- 
nent, will  derive  their  most  fervent  gratitude  to  the  founders  of  the 
Union  ;  that  on  which  the  most  beneficent  action  of  its  Government 
will  be  most  deeply  felt  and  acknowledged.  The  magnificence  and 
splendor  of  their  public  works  are  among  the  imperishable  glories  of 
the  ancient  republics  The  roads  and  aqueducts  of  Rome  have  been 
the  admiration  of  all  after  ages ;  and  have  survived  thousands  of 
years  after  all  her  conquests  have  been  swallowed  up  in  despotism, 
or  become  the  spoil  of  barbarians."  Mr.  Adams  did  not  doubt  the 
power  of  Congress  to  enter  in  this  field  of  rivalry  with  the  ancient 
republics ;  and  to  surpass  even  the  Roman  empire,  with  the  spoils  of 


THE  ADAMS  ADMINISTRATION.  245 

a  world  in  its  treasury,  in  the  magnificence  and  splendor  of  their 
roads  and  aqueducts.  He  impatiently  rejects  the  contrary  proposi- 
tion as  unworthy  of  consideration,  and  boldly  and  dogmatically  an- 
nounces "  that  the  question  of  the  power  of  Congress  to  authorize 
the  making  of  internal  improvements  is,  in  other  words,  a  question 
whether  the  people  of  this  Union,  in  forming  their  common  social 
compact  as  avowedly  for  the  purpose  of  promoting  the  general  wel- 
fare, have  performed  their  work  so  ineffably  stupid  as  to  deny  them- 
selves the  means  of  bettering  their  own  condition.  I  have  too  much 
respect  for  the  intellect  of  my  country  to  believe  it." 

In  his  annual  message,  the  President  again  dilates  on  this  subject 
with  his  peculiar  animation  and  earnestness  :  "  The  spirit  of  improve- 
ment is  abroad  upon  the  earth.  It  stimulates  the  heart,  and  sharp- 
ens the  faculties,  not  of  our  fellow-citizens  alone,  but  of  the  nations 
of  Europe,  and  of  their  rulers.  While  dwelling  with  pleasing  satisfac- 
tion upon  the  superior  excellence  of  our  political  institutions,  let  us 
not  be  unmindful  that  liberty  is  power ;  that  the  nation  blessed  with 
the  largest  portion  of  liberty,  must,  in  proportion  to  its  numbers,  be 
the  most  powerful  nation  upon  earth ;  and  that  the  tenure  of  power 
by  man  is.  in  the  moral  purposes  of  his  Creator,  upon  condition  that 
it  shall  be  exercised  to  ends  of  benificence,  to  improve  the  condition 
of  himself  and  his  fellow-man.  While  foreign  nations,  less  blessed 
with  that  freedom  which  is  power,  than  ourselves,  are  advancing  with 
gigantic  strides  in  the  career  of  public  improvement,  were  we  to  slum- 
ber in  indolence,  or  fold  up  our  arms  and  proclaim  to  the  world  that 
we  are  palsied  by  the  will  of  our  constituents ;  would  it  not  be  to  cast 
away  the  bounties  of  Providence,  and  doom  ourselves  to  perpetual 
inferiority  ?;' 

But  the  President  was  surpassed,  if  possible,  in  his  ideas  of  a 
magnificent  and  all-powerful  Government,  by  the  Secretaries  whom  he 
had  gathered  around  him,  as  constitutional  advisers.  The  Secretary 
of  State,  while  a  popular  orator  on  the  floor  of  Congress,  had  never 
failed,  when  occasion  offered,  to  describe  in  glowing  terms,  the  bene- 
fits to  be  derived  from  a  free  and  unrestrained  exercise  of  all  those 
powers  that  Congress,  in  its  wisdom,  might  deem  necessary  and  pro- 
per to  promote  the  common  good  and  general  welfare.  But  the  Sec- 
retary of  the  Treasury  went  beyond  them  both  in  defining  the  object 
and  the  duties  of  Government.     In  his  annual  report  he  says  the 


246  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

duty  of  a  provident  Government  is  "  to  augment  the  number  and  va- 
riety of  occupations  for  its  inhabitants  ;  to  hold  out  to  every  degree 
of  labor,  and  to  every  modification  of  skill,  its  appropriate  object 
and  inducement ;  to  organize  the  whole  labor  of  a  country  ;  to  entice 
into  the  widest  ranges  its  mechanical  and  intellectual  capacities,  in- 
stead of  suffering  them  to  slumber ;  to  call  forth,  wherever  hidden, 
latent  ingenuity,  giving  to  effort  activity,  and  to  emulation  ardor  ;  to 
create  employment  for  the  greatest  amount  of  numbers,  by  adapting 
it  to  the  diversified  faculties,  propensities,  and  situations  of  men,  so 
that  every  particle  of  ability,  every  shade  of  genius,  may  come  into 
requisition." 

In  the  eye  of  these  political  economists,  Government  is  every 
thing,  the  people  nothing.  In  their  estimation,  Government  is  a 
unit,  having  absolute  control  over  the  property  and  the  industry  of 
the  people ;  directing  the  resources  of  the  one  and  the  energies  of 
the  other,  into  this  or  that  channel,  as  may  seem  best  to  its  sovereign 
and  omnipotent  will. 

Doctrines  like  these  were  not  ventured  even  in  the  palmiest  days 
of  federalism.  John  Adams,  the  father,  and  Hamilton,  the  Secretary, 
could  not  hold  a  light  to  the  son,  and  those  luminaries  around  him, 
who  drew  their  inspiration  from  some  modern  political  philosophy, 
which  taught  that  the  prosperity  of  the  people  must  be  based  upon, 
and  measured  by,  the  omnipotent  and  unlimited  powers  conferred  on 
the  Government.  It  is  not  surprising  that  the  people  awoke  from 
their  long  dream  of  security,  and  that  they  were  alarmed  at  the  bold- 
ness and  the  confidence  with  which  these  extraordinary  doctrines 
were  announced  by  the  highest  authorities  known  to  the  Constitu- 
tion. It  is  not  surprising,  that  John  Randolph,  the  champion  of 
State-rights,  should  sound  the  tocsin  to  warn  the  people,  and  that  in 
the  midst  of  so  much  error  of  doctrine,  and  bold  usurpation  of  au- 
thority, he  should  express  doubts  of  a  long  continuance  of  our  fede- 
rative Government,  as  designed  and  constructed  by  our  forefathers: 

"  We  are  now  making  an  experiment,"  says  he,  "  which  has  never 
yet  succeeded  in  any  region  or  quarter  of  the  earth,  at  any  time,  from 
the  deluge  to  this  day.  With  regard  to  the  antediluvian  times,  his- 
tory is  not  very  full ;  but  there  is  no  proof  that  it  has  ever  succeeded, 
even  before  the  flood.  One  thing,  however,  we  do  know,  that  it  has 
never  succeeded  since  the  flood ;  and,  as  there  is  no  proof  of  its  hav- 


THE  ADAMS  ADMINISTRATION.  247 

ing  succeeded  before  the  flood,  as  cle  non  apparentibus  et  non  existen- 
tibus  eadcm  est  ratio;  it  is  good  logic  to  infer,  that  it  has  never  suc- 
ceeded, and  never  can  succeed  any  where.  In  fact  the  onus probandi 
lies  on  them  that  take  up  the  other  side  of  the  question  ;  for  although 
post  hoc  ergo  propter  hoc  be  not  good  logic,  yet,  when  we  find  the  same 
consequences  generally  following  the  same  events,  it  requires  nothing 
short  of  the  skepticism  of  Mr.  Hume,  to  deny  that  there  is  no  con- 
nection between  the  one  and  the  other ;  whatever,  metaphysically 
speaking,  there  may  be  of  necessary  connection  between  cause  and 
effect. 

•'  I  say,  then,  that  we  are  here  making  an  experiment  which  has 
never  succeeded  in  any  time  or  country,  and  which — as  God  shall 
judge  me  at  the  great  and  final  day — I  do  in  my  heart  believe  will 
here  fail ;  because  I  see  and  feel  that  it  is  now  failing.  It  is  an  in- 
firmity of  my  nature ;  it  is  constitutional ;  it  was  born  with  me  ;  it 
has  caused  the  misery  (if  you  will)  of  my  life  ;  it  is  an  infirmity  of 
my  nature  to  have  an  obstinate  constitutional  preference  of  the  true 
over  the  agreeable ;  and  I  am  satisfied,  that  if  I  had  an  only  son.  or, 
what  is  dearer,  an  only  daughter — which  God  forbid  ! — I  say,  God 
forbid  !  for  she  might  bring  her  father's  gray  hairs  with  sorrow  to  the 
grave  ;  she  might  break  my  heart ;  but,  worse  than  that,  what !  Can 
any  thing  be  worse  than  that  1  Yes,  sir,  I  might  break  hers.  I 
should  be  more  sharp-sighted  to  her  foibles  than  any  one  else 

'•  I  say,  in  my  conscience  and  in  my  heart,  I  believe  that  this  ex- 
periment will  fail.  If  it  should  not  fail,  blessed  be  the  Author  of 
all  Good  for  snatching  this  people  as  a  brand  from  the  burning, 
which  has  consumed  as  stubble  all  the  nations — all  the  fruitfulness 
of  the  earth — which,  before  us,  have  been  cut  down,  and  cast  into  the 
fire.  Why  cumbereth  it  the  ground  1  Why  cumbereth  it?  Cut  it 
down  !     Cut  it  down  ! 

"  I  believe  that  it  will  fail ;  but,  sir,  if  it  does  not  fail,  its  success 
will  be  owing  to  the  resistance  of  the  usurpation  of  one  man,  by  a 
power  which  was  not  unsuccessful  in  resisting  another  man,  of  the 
same  name,  and  of  the  same  race.  And  why  is  it  that  I  think  it  will 
fail  %  Sir,  with  Father  Paul,  I  may  wish  it  to  be  perpetual,  esto 
perpetua,  but  I  cannot  believe  that  it  will  be  so.  I  do  not  believe  that 
a  free  republican  government  is  compatible  with  the  apery  of  Euro- 
pean fashions  and  manners — is  compatible  with  the  apery  of  Euro- 
pean luxury  and  habits  ;  but  if  it  were,  I  do  know  that  it  is  entirely 
incompatible  with  what  I  have  in  my  hand — a  base  and  baseless 
paper  system  of  diplomacy,  and  a  hardly  better  paper  system  of 
exchange. 

'•  Now,  sir,  John  Quincy  Adams,  coming  into  power  under  these 
inauspicious  circumstances,  and  with  these  suspicious  allies  and  con- 
nections, has  determined  to  become  the  apostle  of  liberty,  of  universal 


248  LIFE  0F  J0HN  RANDOLPH. 

liberty,  as  his  father  was,  about  the  time  of  the  formation  of  the 
Constitution,  known  to  be  the  apostle  of  monarchy.  It  is  no  secret. 
I  was  in  New- York  when  he  first  took  his  seat  as  Vice-President.  I 
recollect — for  I  was  a  schoolboy  at  the  time — attending  the  lobby  of 
Congress,  when  I  ought  to  have  been  at  school.  I  remember  the 
manner  in  which  my  brother  was  spurned  by  the  coachman  of  the 
then  Vice-President,  for  coming  too  near  the  arms  emblazoned  on 
the  scutcheon  of  the  vice-regal  carriage.  Perhaps  I  may  have  some 
of  this  old  animosity  rankling  in  my  heart,  and,  coming  from  a  race 
who  are  known  never  to  forsake  a  friend  or  forgive  a  foe,  I  am  taught 
to  forgive  my  enemies ;  and  I  do,  from  the  bottom  of  my  heart,  most 
sincerely,  as  I  hope  to  be  forgiven ;  but  it  is  my  enemies,  not  the 
enemies  of  my  country,  for,  if  they  come  here  in  the  shape  of  the 
English,  it  is  my  duty  to  kill  them ;  if  they  come  here  in  a  worse 
shape — wolves  in  sheeps'  clothing,  it  is  my  duty  and  my  business  to 
tear  the  sheep-skins  from  their  backs,  and,  as  Windham  said  to  Pitt, 
open  the  bosom,  and  expose  beneath  the  ruffled  shirt  the  filthy  dow- 
las. This  language  was  used  in  the  House  of  Commons,  where  they 
talk  and  act  like  men ;  where  they  eat  and  drink  like  men  ;  and  do 
other  things  like  men,  not  like  Master  Bettys.  Adams  determined 
to  take  warning  by  his  father's  errors  ;  but  in  attempting  the  perpen- 
dicular, he  bent  as  much  the  other  way.  Who  would  believe  that 
Adams,  the  son  of  the  sedition-law  President,  who  held  office  Under 
his  father — who,  up  to  December  G,  1807,  was  the  undeviating, 
stanch  adherent  to  the  opposition  to  Jefferson's  administration,  then 
almost  gone — who  would  believe  he  had  selected  for  his  pattern  the 
celebrated  Anacharsis  Cloots,  'orator  of  the  human  race?'  As 
Anacharsis  was  the  orator  of  the  human  race,  so  Adams  was  de- 
termined to  be  the  President  of  the  human  race,  when  I  am  not  wil- 
ling that  he  should  be  President  of  my  name  and  race ;  but  he  is, 
and  must  be,  till  the  third  day  of  March,  eighteen  hundred  and — 
I  forget  when.  He  has  come  out  with  a  speech  and  a  message,  and 
with  a  doctrine  that  goes  to  take  the  whole  human  family  under  his 
special  protection.  Now,  sir.  who  made  him  his  brother's  keeper? 
Who  gave  him,  the  President  of  the  United  States,  the  custody  of 
the  liberties,  or  the  rights,  or  the  interests  of  South  America,  or  any 
other  America,  save,  only,  the  United  States  of  America,  or  any  other 
country  under  the  sun?  He  has  put  himself,  we  know,  into  the  way, 
and  I  say,  God  send  him  a  safe  deliverance,  and  God  send  the  coun- 
try a  safe  deliverance  from  his  policy — from  his  policy." 


THE  PANAMA  MISSION.  249 

CHAPTEE    XXX. 

THE   PANAMA   MISSION — BLIFIL   AND   BLACK   GEOEGE. 

The  American  system  of  Mr.  Clay  was  not  confined  to  the  mere  do- 
mestic affairs  of  the  United  States,  it  contemplated  a  wider  range, 
and  embraced  within  its  scope  an  intimate  political  relationship  with 
all  the  republics  and  empires  of  North  and  South  America.  On 
the  floor  of  the  House  of  Representatives,  in  1820,  he  gave  the  first 
outline  of  this  American  policy.  "  What  would  I  give,"  says  he, 
"  could  we  appreciate  the  advantages  of  pursuing  the  course  I  pro- 
pose. It  is  in  our  power  to  create  a  system  of  which  we  shall  be 
the  centre,  and  in  which  all  South  America  will  act  with'  us.  Im- 
agine the  vast  power  of  the  two  continents,  and  the  value  of  the  in- 
tercourse between  them,  when  we  shall  have  a  population  of  forty, 
and  they  of  seventy  millions.  In  relation  to  South  America,  the 
people  of  the  United  States  will  occupy  the  same  position  as  the 
people  of  New  England  do  to  the  rest  of  the  United  States.  We 
shall  be  the  centre  of  a  system,  which  would  constitute  the  rallying 
point  of  human  freedom  against  all  the  despotism  of  the  old  world. 
Let  us  no  longer  watch  the  nod  of  any  European  politician.  Let  us 
become  real  and  true  Americans,  and  place  ourselves  at  the  head  of 
the  American  system." 

So  soon  as  Mr.  Clay  took  possession  of  the  Department  of  State,  he 
had  an  ample  field  for  the  exercise  of  his  passion  for  diplomacy.  He 
not  only  instilled  his  doctrines  into  the  minds  of  our  public  function- 
aries abroad,  but  he  immediately  commenced  a  line  of  policy  which 
must  soon  consummate  his  cherished  schemes,  and  place  himself  at 
the  head  of  an  American  Holy  Alliance,  to  defend  human  freedom 
against  tlie  despotism  of  tlie  old  world. 

The  Spanish  American  Republics,  by  various  treaties  among  them- 
selves, had  determined  to  appoint  delegates  to  meet  in  Congress  at 
Panama,  for  the  purpose  of  devising  means  more  effectually  to  prose- 
cute the  war  with  Spain,  who  had  not  yet  acknowledged  their  inde- 
pendence ;  to  settle  some  principles  of  international  law ;  and  to  di- 
gest some  plan  of  co-operation  with  the  United  States,  to  prevent  the 

VOL.  II.  11* 


250  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

interference  of  any  other  nation  in  the  present  war,  on  behalf  of 
Spain,  and  to  resist  the  further  colonization  of  the  American  coast 
by  the  nations  of  Europe.  There  were  many  and  serious  difficulties 
in  the  way  of  any  participation  on  the  part  of  the  United  States  in 
the  deliberations  and  decisions  of  this  Congress.  Nor  was  their  pre- 
sence at  first  anticipated.  But  this  Assembly  furnished  too  favorable 
an  opportunity  for  Mr.  Clay  to  accomplish  his  schemes,  to  let  it  escape 
He,  as  Secretary  of  State,  intimated  to  the  resident  Ministers  at 
Washington,  in  the  name  of  the  Government,  that  the  United  States, 
if  formally  invited,  would,  on  their  part,  appoint  a  person  to  repre- 
sent them.  The  invitation  of  course  was  extended  ;  but  before  ac- 
cepting it,  the  President  thought  that  certain  important  preliminary 
questions  should  be  settled.  It  appeared  to  him  to  be  necessary,  be- 
fore the  assembling  of  such  a  Congress,  to  settle  between  the  differ- 
ent powers  to  be  represented,  several  preliminary  points ;  such  as  the 
subjects  to  which  the  attention  of  the  Congress  should  be  directed  ; 
the  substance  and  the  form  of  the  powers  to  be  given  to  the  respect- 
ive Representatives ;  and  the  mode  of  organizing  the  Congress. 
These  subjects  were  discussed  for  many  months  in  verbal  conferences. 
They  were  not  merely  preliminary,  but  vital  as  to  the  propriety  of 
accepting  the  invitation. 

They  were  never  settled.  But  the  Secretary  of  State,  and  the 
President,  whose  imagination  had  now  become  inflamed  with  the  same 
brilliant  theme,  were  not  to  be  diverted  from  their  purpose  by  these 
grave  difficulties.  Two  such  ardent  and  obstinate  tempers  united  on 
the  same  object,  were  not  to  be  balked  by  ordinary  obstacles. 

But  a  few  days  before  the  meeting  of  Congress,  the  30th  of  No- 
vember, 1825,  the  Secretary  wrote  to  the  several  Spanish  American 
Ministers,  residing  at  Washington.  After  expressing  his  regret  that 
these  subjects  had  not  been  arranged,  he  proceeds  :  "  But  as  the  want 
of  the  adjustment  of  these  preliminaries,  if  it  should  occasion  any 
inconvenience,  could  be  only  productive  of  some  delay,  the  President 
has  determined,  at  once,  to  manifest  the  sensibility  of  the  United 
States  to  whatever  concerns  the  prosperity  of  the  American  hemis- 
phere, and  to  the  friendly  motives  which  have  actuated  your  Govern- 
ments in  transmitting  the  invitation  which  you  have  communicated. 
He  has,  therefore,  resolved,  should  the  Senate  of  the  United  States, 
now  expected  to  assemble  in  a  few  days,  give  their  advice  and  consent, 


THE  PANAMA  MISSION.  251 

to  seDd  Commissioners  to  the  Congress  at  Panama."  Accordingly, 
in  his  annual  message,  the  6th  of  December,  the  President  announces 
to  Congress  that  "  the  invitation  has  been  accepted,  and  ministers  on 
the  part  of  the  United  States  will  be  commissioned  to  attend  at  those 
deliberations." 

New  offices  were  to  be  created,  and  the  whole  policy  of  the  coun- 
try, in  despite  of  the  warning  of  the  father  of  his  country,  was  to  be 
changed,  by  mere  Executive  will,  without  the  advice  and  consent  of 
the  Representatives  of  the  States,  or  of  the  people. 

This  extraordinary  measure  was  deemed  by  the  President  to  be 
within  the  constitutional  competency  of  the  Executive ;  and,  before 
ascertaining  the  opinion  of  the  Legislature  as  to  its  expediency,  by 
first  obtaining  a  creation  of  the  offices  proposed  to  be  filled,  and  then 
an  appropriation  for  the  salaries,  he  nominated  Richard  C.  Anderson, 
of  Kentucky,  and  John  Sergeant,  of  Pennsylvania,  to  be  Envoys 
Extraordinary  and  Ministers  Plenipotentiary  to  the  Assembly  of 
American  Nations,  at  Panama. 

Mr.  Randolph  took  his  seat  in  the  Senate  a  few  days  after  the 
message  containing  these  nominations  was  communicated  to  that  body. 

On  the  4th  of  January,  1826,  he  writes  to  a  friend,  "We  are 
here,  as  dull  as  the  '  Asphaltic  Pool.'  Yet  I  think  it  possible  (not 
to  say  probable)  that  we  shall  not  continue  so  during  the  remainder 

of  the  session If  any  check  can  be  given  to  the  Ex.  Power,  I 

have  long  believed  that  the  Senate  alone  had  the  reins.  The  H.  of 
R..  from  its  character  and  composition,  can  never  be  formidable  to  a 
P.  who  has  common  sense."  The  "Asphaltic  Pool"  was  soon  driven 
and  tossed  by  a  mighty  tempest. 

After  repeated  calls  on  the  President  for  fuller  information, 
which  he  very  mincingly  dealt  out  to  them,  the  Senate  at  length  com- 
menced in  conclave  to  discuss  the  Panama  question. 

Mr.  Van  Buren,  on  the  15th  of  February,  submitted  a  resolu- 
tion, "That  upon  the  question,  whether  the  United  States  shall  be  rep- 
resented in  the  Congress  of  Panama,  the  Senate  ought  to  act  with 
open  doors ;  unless  it  shall  appear  that  the  publication  of  documents 
necessary  to  be  referred  to  in  debate  will  be  prejudicial  to  existing 
negotiations." 

He  submitted  a  further  resolution,  "  That  the  President  be  re- 
spectfully requested  to  inform  the  Senate  whether  such  objection  ex- 


252  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

isted  in  the  publication  of  the  documents  communicated  by  the  Ex- 
ecutive, or  any  portion  of  them  ;  and,  if  so,  to  specify  the  parts  the 
publication  of  which  would,  for  that  reason,  be  objectionable." 

Mr.  Randolph  opposed  these  resolutions.  He  protested  against 
opening  the  doors,  and  contended  that  the  President  was  a  co-ordin- 
ate branch  of  the  Government,  and  was  entitled  to  all  possible  respect 
from  the  Senate.  "  It  is  his  duty,"  said  he,  "  to  lay  before  us  infor- 
mation on  which  we  must  act ;  if  he  does  not  give  us  sufficient  informa- 
tion, it  is  not  our  business  to  ask  more."  The  resolutions,  however,  were 
adopted ;  and  the  next  day,  the  President  sent  the  following  message 
in  reply  :  "  In  answer  to  the  two  resolutions  of  the  Senate,  of  the  15th 
instant,  marked  (Executive)  and  which  I  have  received,  I  state  re- 
spectfully, that  all  the  communications  from  me  to  the  Senate,  relat- 
ing to  the  Congress  at  Panama,  have  been  made,  like  all  other  com- 
munications upon  Executive  business,  in  confidence^  and  most  of  them 
in  compliance  with  a  resolution  of  the  Senate,  requiring  them  confi- 
dentially. Believing  that  the  established  usage  of  free  confidential 
communications  between  the  Executive  and  the  Senate  ought,  for  the 
public  interest,  to  be  preserved  unimpaired,  I  deem  it  my  indispensa- 
ble duty  to  leave  to  the  Senate,  itself,  the  decision  of  a  question  in- 
volving a  departure,  hitherto,  so  far  as  I  am  informed,  without  exam- 
ple, from  that  usage,  and  upon  the  motives  for  which,  not  being  in- 
formed of  them,  I  do  not  feel  myself  competent  to  decide." 

This  message  changed  the  tone  of  Mr.  Randolph  towards  the 
President.  Some  weeks  afterwards,  when  addressing  the  Senate  with 
open  doors,  he  alluded  to  this  subject. 

"  I  did  maintain,"  said  he,  "  the  rights  of  the  President ;  but  from 
the  moment  he  sent  us  this  message,  from  that  moment  did  my  tone 
and  manner  to  him  change;  from  that  moment  was  I  an  altered  msrn, 
and,  I  am  afraid,  not  altered  for  the  better. 

"  Sir,  if  he  would  leave  to  the  Senate  the  decision  of  the  question, 
I  would  agree  with  him  ;  but  the  evil  genius  of  the  American  house 
of  Stuart  prevailed.  He  goes  on  to  say  that  the  question  '  involves 
a  departure,  hitherto,  so  far  as  I  am  informed,  without  example,  from 
that  usage,  and  upon  the  motives  for  which,  not  being  informed  of 
them,  I  do  not  feel  myself  competent  to  decide.'  If  this  had  been 
prosecuted  for  a  libel,  what  jury  would  have  failed  to  have  found  a 
verdict  on  such  an  inuendo  ?  That  we  were  breaking  up  from  our 
own  usages  to  gratify  personal  spleen?  I  say  nothing  about  our 
movements,  because  he  was  not  informed  of  them.     The  inuendo  was 


THE  PANAMA  MISSION.  253 

that  our  motives  were  black  and  bad.  That  moment  did  I  put,  like 
Hannibal,  my  hand  on  the  altar,  and  swear  eternal  enmity  against 
him  and  his,  politically.  From  that  moment  I  would  do  any  thing 
within  the  limits  of  the  Constitution  and  the  law ;  for,  as  Chatham 
said  of  Wilkes,  '  I  would  not,  in  the  person  of  the  worst  of  men,  vio- 
late those  sanctions  and  privileges  which  are  the  safeguard  of  the 
rights  and  liberties  of  the  best ;  but,  within  the  limits  of  the  Consti- 
tution and  the  law,  if  I  don't  carry  on  the  war,  whether  in  the  Penin- 
sula or  any  where  else,  it  shall  be  for  want  of  resources.' " 

After  further  observations  on  the  resolutions  moved  in  conclave, 
Mr.  Randolph  repeated  what  he  had  then  said  in  reference  to  the 
message  of  the  President. 

"  Who  made  him  a  judge  of  our  usages  1  Who  constituted  him  ? 
He  has  been  a  professor,  I  understand.  I  wish  he  had  left  off  the 
pedagogue  when  he  got  into  the  Executive  chair.  Who  made  him 
the  censor  morum  of  this  body  1  Will  any  one  answer  this  question  1 
Yes  or  no  1  Who  1  Name  the  person.  Above  all,  who  made  him 
the  searcher  of  hearts,  and  gave  him  the  right,  by  an  inuendo  black 
as  hell,  to  blacken  our  motives?  Blacken  our  motives!  I  did  not 
say  that  then.  I  was  more  under  self-command  ;  I  did  not  use  such 
strong  language.  I  said,  if  he  could  borrow  the  eye  of  Omniscience 
himself,  and  look  into  every  bosom  here  ;  if  he  could  look  into  that 
most  awful,  calamitous,  and  tremendous  of  all  possible  gulfs,  the 
naked  unveiled  human  heart,  stripped  of  all  its  covering  of  self-love, 
exposed  naked,  as  to  the  eye  of  God — I  said  if  he  could  do  that,  he  was 
not.  as  President  of  the  United  States,  entitled  to  pass  upon  our 
motives,  although  he  saw  and  knew  them  to  be  bad.  I  said,  if  he 
had  converted  us  to  the  Catholic  religion,  and  was  our  father  confes- 
sor, and  every  man  in  this  House  at  the  footstool  of  the  confessional 
had  confessed  a  bad  motive  to  him  by  the  laws  of  his  church,  as  by 
this  Constitution,  above  the  law  and  above  the  church,  he,  as  Presi- 
dent of  the  United  States,  could  not  pass  on  our  motives,  though  we 
had  told  him  with  our  own  lips  our  motives,  and  confessed  they  were 
bad.  I  said  this  then,  and  I  say  it  now.  Here  I  plant  my  foot ; 
here  I  fling  defiance  right  into  his  teeth  before  the  American  people  : 
here  I  throw  the  gauntlet  to  him  and  the  bravest  of  his  compeers,  to 
come  forward  and  defend  these  miserable  lines  :  '  Involving  a  depar- 
ture, hitherto,  so  far  as  I  am  informed,  without  example,  from  that 
usage,  and  upon  the  motives  for  which,  not  being  informed  of  them, 
I  do  not  feel  myself  competent  to  decide.'  Amiable  modesty  !  I 
wonder  we  did  not,  all  at  once,  fall  in  love  with  him.  and  agree  una 
voce  to  publish  our  proceedings,  except  myself,  for  I  quitted  the 
Senate  ten  minutes  before  the  vote  was  taken.     I  saw  what  was  to 


254  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

follow  ;  I  knew  the  thing  would  not  he  done  at  all,  or  would  be  done 
unanimously.  Therefore,  in  spite  of  the  remonstrances  of  friends, 
I  went  away,  not  fearing  that  any  one  would  doubt  what  my  vote 
would  have  been,  if  I  had  staid.  After  twenty-six  hours'  exertion, 
it  was  time  to  give  in.  I  was  defeated,  horse,  foot,  and  dragoons — 
cut  up,  and  clean  broke  down  by  the  coalition  of  Blifil  and  Black 
George — by  the  combination,  unheard  of  till  then,  of  the  puritan  with 
the  blackleg." 


CHAPTER    XXXI. 

DUEL  WITH  HENRY  CLAY. 

The  remarks  contained  in  the  closing  paragraph  of  the  preceding 
chapter,  were  made  in  reference  to  the  coalition  between  Mr.  Clay 
and  Mr.  Adams.  Mr.  Randolph  was  fully  persuaded  that  it  was  the 
result  of  corrupt  motives  ;  and  being  so  persuaded,  he  did  not  hesi- 
tate to  express  himself  in  the  strongest  terms  of  denunciation.  But, 
on  the  present  occasion,  he  so  far  forgot  himself  as  to  indulge  in  lan- 
guage of  the  grossest  personal  insult.  We  do  not  believe  that  this 
was  a  premeditated  and  malicious  assault  on  the  private  reputation 
of  an  absent  rival.  In  the  heat  of  debate,  Randolph  often  used  ex- 
pressions that  in  cooler  moments  he  regretted.  Concentration  of 
thought  and  intensity  of  expression  were  characteristic  of  his  mind. 
Few  men  could  say  more  pithy  or  pungent  things.  His  sentences 
were  aphorisms,  without  a  superfluous  ornament,  and  pregnant  with 
meaning.  On  the  present  occasion,  while  the  blood  was  up,  and  the 
mind  glowing  with  intense  action,  we  are  persuaded  that  he  looked 
only  to  the  vividness  of  his  illustrations  and  the  aptness  of  his  allu- 
sions. He  felt  only  the  strength  of  the  orator  giving  intensity  to  his 
expressions  ;  he  perceived  only  the  effect  on  his  audience,  and  did 
not  consider  the  wound  he  might  inflict  on  the  feelings  of  the  subject 
of  his  allusions.  If  the  thought  flashed  across  his  mind  at  the  mo- 
ment, it  was  too  late ;  while  "  at  the  top  of  his  bent,"  and  in  the  eye 
of  the  Senate,  he  could  not  pause  to  weigh  consequences.  When,  per- 
haps, in  the  next  hour  after  taking  his  seat,  he  may  have  regretted 
that  any  offensive  words  had  escaped  his  lips.     So  conscious  was  he 


DUEL  WITH  HENRY  CLAY.  255 

of  his  proneness  to  this  license  in  the  heat  of  debate,  that  he  not  un- 
frequently  asked  pardon  of  the  House,  or  of  the  Senate,  while  a  mem- 
ber of  that  body,  for  any  unguarded  and  injurious  expressions  he 
may  have  uttered.  We  can  readily  fancy  that  when  his  attention 
was  called  to  the  subject  by  a  friend,  he  would  exclaim.  ';  God  for- 
give me  !  but  it  is  too  late  now;  it  can't  be  helped."  Having  flung 
down  the  gauntlet,  and  challenged  the  boldest  champion  of  the  admin- 
istration to  take  it  up,  he  was  not  the  man  to  take  back  any  insulting 
expressions  that  might  provoke  an  acceptance  of  his  challenge.  Hav- 
ing offered  the  insult,  he  calmly  awaited  the  consequences,  not  doubt- 
ing what  those  consequences  would  be.  Mr.  Clay  was  not  a  man  of 
such  forbearance  and  Christian  virtue  as  to  permit  a  gross  im- 
putation on  his  motives  to  pass  unnoticed.  The  circumstances  by 
which  he  was  surrounded,  and  the  quarter  from  which  it  came,  for- 
bade it  on  this  occasion.  He  was  compelled  to  act.  He  had  reached 
a  crisis  in  his  public  career  ;  a  vast  suspicion  hung  upon  the  integrity 
of  his  late  conduct ;  the  public  had  fixed  a  jealous  eye  on  his  move- 
ments ;  had  he  then  quailed,  or  even  been  silent,  under  the  charge  of 
bankruptcy  in  morals,  both  public  and  private,  his  political  fortunes 
would  have  been  ruined  beyond  the  hope  of  redemption.  Randolph, 
too,  was  the  man  to  confront.  He  had  been  the  evil  genius  that  from 
the  beginning  stood  in  the  way  of  his  aspirations :  not  as  the  weird 
sisters  in  the  path  of  Macbeth,  to  cheer  him  on  with  prophecies  of 
future  greatness,  but  as  the  angel  with  the  flaming  sword,  that 
checked  the  presumptuous  Baalam  as  he  went  up  to  curse  the  chil- 
dren of  Grod. 

He  strode  from  the  vestibule  to  the  speaker's  chair,  and  from  that 
elevated  position  fixed  his  eye  on  a  still  more  lofty  seat.  Randolph's 
keen  and  practised  perception  saw  the  dangerous  and  the  vaulting 
ambition  of  the  man,  and  from  that  moment  marked  him  as  an 
object  of  especial  notice.  While  the  country  yet  paused,  and  her 
fate  still  hung  balanced  between  peace  and  war,  Clay,  with  burning 
zeal,  urged  on  to  strife.  Randolph's  voice  was  heard  for  peace.  On 
the  political  arena  they  met.  and  with  ethereal  weapons  fought. 
When  the  trophies  of  victory  reared  on  the  bloody  field  of  combat 
shall  have  mouldered  into  dust,  the  intellectual  conflicts  of  these 
great  orators  shall  live  in  the  memory  of  coming  ages.  Soon  they 
parted:  one  to  the  shades  and  the  solitude  of  Roanoke,  the  other  to  the 


256  LIFE  0F  J0HN  RANDOLPH. 

achievement  of  still  higher  exploits  in  the  cabinet  of  diplomacy. 
Again  they  met  on  the  same  arena.  Peace  had  returned,  and  with 
it  a  tide  of  prosperity  that  maddened  the  minds  of  the  multitude, 
and  filled  the  imaginations  of  gravest  statesmen  with  schemes  of 
magnificence  and  grandeur  that  brooked  no  constitutional  restraint 
in  the  way  of  their  complete  and  immediate  execution.  But  the 
towering  genius  of  the  young  Apollo  soared  above  them  all,  and 
bore  away  the  crown  of  victory,  while  the  people  stood  charmed 
with  the  melodious  tones  of  his  persuasive  voice,  and  enchanted  by 
the  magic  spell  he  had  thrown  about  their  bewildered  minds.  But 
the  eagle,  towering  in  his  pride,  was  doomed  to  fall.  The  keen 
archer  sped  an  arrow,  plumed  with  feathers  fallen  from  his  own  wing, 
that  brought  him  wounded  to  the  earth.  "  From  the  time  that  I  en- 
tered upon  the  subject  of  his  conduct  in  relation  to  the  Bank,  in 
1811  (renewal  of  the  old  charter)  and  in  1816  (the  new  Bank),  and 
on  internal  improvements,  &c ,  (quoting  his  own  words  in  his  last 
speech  that  '  this  was  a  limited  cautiously  restricted  government.)  and 
held  up  the  '  compromise'  in  its  true  colors,  he  never  once  glanced 
his  eye  upon  me  but  to  withdraw  it,  as  if  he  had  seen  a  basilisk." 
But  the  glance  of  the  basilisk,  nor  the  archer's  shaft,  could  quell  his 
aspiring  mind.  Borne  up  on  the  popular  breeze,  he  still  mounted 
aloft,  and  waved  defiance  to  his  enemies.  Scorning  meaner  things, 
his  wide  vision  stretched  across  the  continent,  and  embraced  far  dis- 
tant republics  in  the  scope  of  his  philanthropy.  A  halo  of  glory 
seemed  to  hover  about  his  brow,  and  he  rode  like  a  sun,  eclipsing  the 
beams  of  lesser  luminaries.  But  his  hour  had  come  ;  the  fatal  blun- 
der had  been  committed.  Proud  and  confident,  he  had  never  mis- 
trusted his  own  infallibility.  The  averted  countenance  of  retiring 
friends,  the  chilling  breath  of  cold  suspicion,  taught  him  when  too 
late  that  he  also  was  mortal.  In  this  hour  of  abandonment  and 
peril,  his  old  enemy  dealt  him  a  deadly  blow.  He  had  no  right  to 
complain;  he  could  not  exclaim  et  tu,  Brute!  for  no  friendship  had 
ever  been  professed :  on  the  contrary,  Randolph  had  ever  deprecated 
his  ambition  as  dangerous,  and  felt  justified  in  the  use  of  any  weapon 
that  might  curb  its  career.  Embittered  by  the  denunciations  heaped 
upon  him  on  every  hand,  and  chafed  by  the  prospect  of  falling  for- 
tunes, Clay  only  saw  in  his  ancient  rival  a  cunning  Mephistopheles, 
heaping  scornful  words  upon  him,  and  smiling  in  triumph  at  his  over- 


DUEL  WITH  HENRY  CLAY.  257 

throw.  Stung  to  desperation,  he  sought  revenge  in  the  blood  of  his 
adversary.  Pity  he  knew  no  other  mode  of  vindicating  an  injured 
character  than  a  resort  to  mortal  combat.  It  is  a  reproach  to  civili- 
zation, if  not  to  Christianity,  that  they  have  found  no  other  means 
of  wiping  away  the  stains  of  dishonor  than  that  which  is  exacted  by 
the  bloody  code  of  a  barbarous  age. 

These  two  remarkable  men,  so  often  meeting  in  the  arena  of  de- 
bate, and  now  for  the  first  time  on  the  bloody  field,  were  born  within 
a  day's  ride  of  each  other.  One  in  the  baronial  halls  of  his  an- 
cestors, on  the  lofty  banks  of  the  Appomattox,  the  other  in  an  hum- 
ble dwelling  amidst  the  slashes  of  Hanover.  While  the  poor  depu- 
ty clerk,  in  the  intervals  of  toil,  picked  up  his  scanty  crumbs  of 
knowledge,  the  proud  son  of  fortune  enjoyed  the  richest  repasts  in 
the  highest  seminaries  of  learning.  While  the  one  yet  a  youth,  was 
borne  into  the  halls  of  Congress  by  the  sweet  voices  of  the  people, 
the  other  was  still  fighting  his  uncouth  way  to  fame  and  fortune 
among  the  hunters  of  Kentucky. 

Born  to  command,  each  was  reared  in  that  school  that  best  fitted 
him  to  perform  the  part  Providence  had  assigned  him.  In  daily 
contact  with  his  fellows,  the  one  became  affable,  courteous,  winning 
in  his  ways,  and  powerful  in  his  influence  over  the  mind  and  the  will 
of  the  admiring  multitude ;  the  other,  in  retirement  and  solitude, 
cherished  those  sterner  virtues  that  made  him  the  unbending  advo- 
cate of  truth,  the  unwavering  defender  of  the  Constitution,  and 
the  intrepid  leader  of  those  who  rallied  around  the  rights  of  the 
States  as  the  only  sure  guarantee  of  the  rights  of  the  people. 

The  acknowledged  champions  of  the  two  great  political  parties 
again  reorganized,  and  with  the  hopes  of  the  whole  country  resting 
upon  them,  these  two  men  were  about  to  meet  for  the  purpose  of  ex- 
tinguishing the  lives  of  each  other.  Sad  end  to  a  bright  career  !  But 
encompassed  as  they  were  by  a  false  sense  of  honor,  which  they  them- 
selves had  cherished,  there  was  no  other  alternative  but  to  fight. 
With  a  laudable  desire  to  terminate  the  difference  between  the  parties 
in  a  manner  alike  honorable  to  both,  General  Jesup  and  Colonel 
Tattnall  mutually  agreed  to  suspend  the  challenge  and  acceptance, 
in  order  that,  if  possible,  satisfactory  explanations  might  be  entered 
into. 

General  Jesup,  as  the  friend  of  Mr.  Clay,  stated  that  the  injury 


258  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

of  which  that  gentleman  complained  consisted  in  this  :  that  Mr.  Ran- 
dolph had  charged  him  with  having  forged  or  manufactured  a  paper 
connected  with  the  Panama  mission  ;  also,  that  he  had  applied  to  him 
the  epithet  black  legs.  General  Jesup  considered  it  necessary  that 
Mr.  Randolph  should  declare  that  he  had  no  intention  of  charging 
Mr.  Clay,  either  in  his  public  or  private  capacity,  with  forging  or 
falsifying  any  paper,  or  misrepresenting  any  fact ;  and  also,  that  the 
term  black  legs,  if  used,  was  not  intended  to  apply  to  him. 

Colonel  Tattnall  made  the  communication  to  Mr.  Randolph.  His 
reply  cut  off  all  hope  of  any  satisfactory  adjustment  of  the  diffi- 
culty ;  "  I  have  gone,  says  he,  as  far  as  I  could  in  waiving  my  pri- 
vilege to  accept  a  peremptory  challenge  from  a  minister  of  the 
Executive  Government,  under  any  circumstances,  and  especially  un- 
der such  circumstances.  The  words  used  by  me  were,  that  I  thought 
it  would  be  in  my  power  to  show  evidence,  sufficiently  presumptive, 
to  satisfy  a  Charlotte  jury,  that  this  invitation  was  "  manufactured  '; 
here — that  Salagar's  letter  struck  me  as  being  a  strong  likeness  in 
point  of  style,  &c,  to  the  other  papers.  I  did  not  undertake  to  prove 
this,  but  expressed  my  suspicion  that  the  fact  was  so.  I  applied  to 
the  administration  the  epithet,  "  puritanic,  diplomatic,  black -legged 
administration." 

"I  have  no  explanations  to  give — I  will  not  give  any — I  am  called 
to  the  field — I  have  agreed  to  go  and  am  ready  to  go." 

"The  night  before  the  duel,"  says  General  James  Hamilton,  of 
South  Carolina,  "  Mr.  Randolph  sent  for  me.  I  found  him  calm,  but 
in  a  singularly  kind  and  confiding  mood.  He  told  me  that  he  had 
something  on  his  mind  to  tell  me.  He  then  remarked,  '  Hamilton, 
I  have  determined  to  receive,  without  returning,  Clay's  fire  ;  nothing 
shall  induce  me  to  harm  a  hair  of  his  head ;  I  will  not  make  his  wife 
a  widow,  or  his  children  orphans.  Their  tears  would  be  shed  over 
his  grave ;  but  when  the  sod  of  Virginia  rests  on  my  bosom,  there  is 
not  in  this  wide  world  one  individual  to  pay  this  tribute  upon  mine.' 
His  eyes  filled,  and  resting  his  head  upon  his  hand,  we  remained 
some  moments  silent.  I  replied,  'My  dear  friend  (for  ours  was  a  sort 
of  posthumous  friendship,  bequeathed  by  our  mothers),  I  deeply  re- 
gret that  you  have  mentioned  this  subject  to  me ;  for  you  call  upon 
me  to  go  to  the  field  and  to  see  you  shot  down,  or  to  assume  the  re- 
sponsibility, in  regard  to  your  own  life,  in  sustaining  your  determina- 


DUEL  WITH  HENRY  CLAY.  259 

tion  to  throw  it  away.  But  on  this  subject,  a  man's  own  conscience 
and  his  own  bosom  are  his  best  monitors.  I  will  not  advise,  but  un- 
der the  enormous  and  unprovoked  personal  insult  you  have  offered 
Mr.  Clay.  I  cannot  dissuade.  I  feel  bound,  however,  to  communi- 
cate to  Colonel  Tattnall  your  decision.'  He  begged  me  not  to  do  so, 
and  said  '  he  was  very  much  afraid  that  Tattnall  would  take  the 
studs  and  refuse  to  go  out  with  him.'  I,  however,  sought  Colonel 
Tattnall,  and  we  repaired '  about  midnight  to  Mr.  Randolph's  lodg- 
ings, whom  we  found  reading  Milton's  great  poem.  For  some  mo- 
ments he  did  not  permit  us  to  say  one  word  in  relation  to  the  ap. 
proaching  duel ;  and  he  at  once  commenced  one  of  those  delightful 
criticisms  on  a  passage  of  this  poet,  in  which  he  was  wont  so  enthu- 
siastically to  indulge.  After  a  pause,  Colonel  Tattnall  remarked, 
'  Mr.  Randolph.  I  am  told  you  have  determined  not  to  return  Mr. 
Clay's  fire  ;  I  must  say  to  you,  my  dear  sir,  if  I  am  only  to  go  out 
to  see  you  shot  down,  you  must  find  some  other  friend.'  Mr.  Ran- 
dolph remarked  that  it  was  his  determination.  After  much  conver- 
sation on  the  subject,  I  induced  Colonel  Tattnall  to  allow  Mr.  Ran- 
dolph to  take  his  own  course,  as  his  withdrawal,  as  one  of  his  friends, 
might  lead  to  very  injurious  misconstructions.  At  last,  Mr.  Ran- 
dolph, smiling,  said,  '  Well,  Tattnall,  I  promise  you  one  thing,  if  I 
see  the  devil  in  Clay's  eye.  and  that  with  malice  prepense  he  means 
to  take  my  life,  I  may  change  my  mind.'  A  remark  I  knew  he  made 
merely  to  propitiate  the  anxieties  of  his  friend. 

'■  Mr.  Clay  and  himself  met  at  4  o'clock  the  succeeding  eveuing,  on 
the  banks  of  the  Potomac.  But  he  saw  'no  devil  in  Clay's  eye,'  but 
a  man  fearless,  and  expressing  the  mingled  sensibility  and  firmness 
which  belonged  to  the  occasion. 

••  I  shall  never  forget  this  scene,  as  long  as  I  live.  It  has  been  my 
misfortune  to  witness  several  duels,  but  I  never  saw  one,  at  least  in 
its  sequel,  so  deeply  affecting.  The  sun  was  just  setting  behind  the 
blue  hills  of  Randolph's  own  Virginia  Here  were  two  of  the  most 
extraordinary  men  our  country  in  its  prodigality  had  produced,  about 
to  meet  in  mortal  combat.  Whilst  Tattnall  was  loading  Randolph's 
pistols  I  approached  my  friend,  I  believed,  for  the  last  time  ;  I  took 
his  hand  ;  there  was  not  in  its  touch  the  quivering  of  one  pulsation. 
He  turned  to  me  and  said,  '  Clay  is  calm,  but  not  vindictive — I  hold 
my  purpose,  Hamilton,  in  any  event ;  remember  this.'     On  handing 


260  LIFE  0F  J0HN  RANDOLPH. 

him  his  pistol,  Colonel  Tattnall  sprung  the  hair-trigger.  Mr.  Ran- 
dolph said,  '  Tattnall,  although  I  am  one  of  the  best  shots  in  Vir- 
ginia, with  either  a  pistol  or  gun,  yet  I  never  fire  with  the  hair-trigger  ; 
besides,  I  have  a  thick  buckskin  glove  on,  which  will  destroy  the  de- 
licacy of  my  touch,  and  the  trigger  may  fly  before  I  know  where  I 
am.'  But,  from  his  great  solicitude  for  his  friend,  Tattnall  insisted 
upon  hairing  the  trigger.  On  taking  their  position,  the  fact  turned 
out  as  Mr.  Randolph  anticipated  ;  his  pistol  went  off  before  the  word, 
with  the  muzzle  down. 

"  The  moment  this  event  took  place,  General  Jesup,  Mr.  Clay's 
friend,  called  out  that  he  would  instantly  leave  the  ground  with  his 
friend,  if  that  occurred  again.  Mr.  Clay  at  once  exclaimed,  it  was 
entirely  an  accident,  and  begged  that  the  gentleman  might  be  allowed 
to  go  on.  On  the  word  being  given,  Mr.  Clay  fired  without  effect, 
Mr.  Randolph  discharging  his  pistol  in  the  air.  The  moment  Mr. 
Clay  saw  that  Mr.  Randolph  had  thrown  away  his  fire,  with  a  gush  of 
sensibility,  he  instantly  approached  Mr.  Randolph,  and  said  with  an 
emotion  I  never  can  forget : — '  I  trust  in  God,  my  dear  sir,  you  are 
untouched  ;  after  what  has  occurred,  I  would  not  have  harmed  you 
for  a  thousand  worlds.'  " 

Thus  ended  this  affair.  None  but  the  uncharitable  will  believe, 
after  what  passed  on  the  field,  that  Randolph  had  any  malicious  mo- 
tive in  the  words  that  fell  from  him  on  the  floor  of  the  Senate.  Had 
a  bloodthirsty  spirit  burned  in  his  bosom,  '  the  best  shot  in  Virginia' 
would  not  have  permitted  this  opportunity  to  escape  of  levelling  his 
weapon  at  the  breast  of  an  old  rival,  whose  ponderous  blows  he  had 
felt  for  fifteen  years,  and  whose  political  opinions  he  considered  so 
dangerous  to  the  country.  The  true  character  of  the  man  shone  forth 
when  he  declared  his  intention  not  to  injure  a  hair  of  Mr.  Clay's 
head — and  a  gush  of  sensibility  came  over  him  at  the  thought  of  his 
forlorn  condition.  Mr.  Clay  had  a  wife  and  children  to  mourn  his 
loss ;  but  there  was  not  one  to  shed  a  tear  over  his  solitary  grave. 
He  knew  the  safety  of  his  adversary — but  with  the  immediate  pros- 
pect of  death  before  him,  the  sublime  strains  of  the  godlike  Milton 
attuned  his  heart  to  softest  influences  ;  and  the  cords  of  affection  so 
long  silent  and  rusted  by  the  chilling  breath  of  a  cold  world,  awak- 
ened by  the  soft  echoes  of  long  past  memories,  now  vibrated  a  sweet, 
though  mournful  melody,  that  mingled  its  harmonious  notes  with  the 
divine  song  of  the  poet : 


NEGRO  SLAVERY.  261 

"How  mournfully  sweet  are  the  echoes  that  start 
When  Memory  plays  an  old  tune  on  the  heart." 

John  Randolph  was  not  understood.  Many  who  professed  to 
know  him,  and  who  considered  themselves  his  friends,  could  not  com- 
prehend "  the  hair-trigger"  sensibility  of  the  man. 

A  few  days  after  this  affair, ':  Friday  morning,  April  14,  1826." 
he  wrote  thus  to  his  friend,  Dr.  Brockenbrough : 

"  I  cannot  write — I  tried  yesterday  to  answer  your  letter,  but  I 
could  not  do  it.  My  pen  cJwked.  The  hysteria  passio  of  poor  old 
Lear,  came  over  me.  I  left  a  letter  for  you  in  case  of  the  worst.  It 
now  lies  on  my  mantel-piece.  Perhaps  you  may,  one  time  or  other, 
see  it.  I  am  a  fatalist.  I  am  all  but  friendless.  Only  one  human 
being  ever  knew  me.  She  only  knew  me.  Benton  begins  to  under- 
stand and  to  love  me.  Nothing  has  stood  in  his  way.  No  lions  in 
his  path.  Had  I  suffered  it,  he  would  have  gone  with  me.  as  my 
friend.     In  that  case  I  should  not  have  violated  the  laws  of  Virginia. 

It  was  not  my  intention  to  do  so and  ....  were   ardent, 

honorable,  devoted  to  my  cause,  but  obtuse,  wanted  tact.  I  am  a  fatal- 
ist— on  no  one  occasion  of  my  life  have  I  ever  been  in  extremity,  that 
they,  to  whom  my  heart  yearned  and  turned  for  aid,  or  at  least  for 
comfort,  have  not  appeared  to  hold  aloof  from  me.  I  say  appeared. 
I  am  assured  that  it  was  appearance,  only,  in  both  instances,  on  the 
part  of  the  two  persons  in  Virginia,  who  shared  highest  in  my  confi- 
dence and  regard.  But  when  a  man  comes  home  from  the  strife  and 
conflict  of  this  wicked  world,  and  its  vile  and  sinful  inhabitants,  it  is 
then  that  a  certain  tone  of  voice — an  averted  look — or  even  the  sweet 
austere  composure  of  our  first  mother,  cuts  him  to  the  heart  in  the 
reception  of  the  wife  of  his  bosom.  The  words  are  nothing — the 
countenance  and  the  tone  of  voice,  the  last  especially,  every  thing. 

"  I  again  repeat,  that  I  cannot  write.  But  I  shall  be  thankful  for 
your  letters  ;  as  long  as  I  could,  I  gave  you  what  I  had.  I  too  am 
bankrupt,  and  have  as  good  a  right  to  break  as  the  rest.  God  bless 
you  both.' 


CHAPTER     XXXII. 

NEGRO     SLAVERY. 

Mr.  Randolph  participated  largely  in  the  debates  of  the  present  ses- 
sion. The  absence  and  illness  of  his  colleague.  Mr.  Tazewell,  im- 
posed a  double  duty  upon  him.     The  extraordinary  state  of  affairs 


262  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

acting  on  a  nervous  sensibility,  at  all  times  acute — exasperated  now 
by  long  protracted  disease,  made  him  more  than  commonly  animated 
and  eccentric  in  his  manner  and  style  of  speaking.  "  The  fever," 
says  he,  Feb.  27,  1826,  "  and  the  toast  and  water  (I  touch  nothing  else), 
keeps  me  more  intoxicated  (exhilarated,  rather)  than  two  bottles  of 
champagne."  Many  thought  him  mad  ;  but  there  was  a  method  in 
his  madness.  All  his  speeches  had  a  purpose  bearing  on  the  past 
history  and  the  future  destiny  of  the  obnoxious  incumbents  in  office. 
While  many  thought  he  was  scattering  sparks  and  even  firebrands 
around  him  in  wanton  sport,  he  was  forging  weapons  to  be  used  in 
the  coming  contest  with  the  men  in  power.  Many  of  his  speeches 
on  these  occasions  were  truly  characteristic,  some  of  them  far  seeing 
and  prophetic,  especially  the  one  delivered  March  2,  on  "  Negro 
Slavery  in  South  America." 

"  I  know  there  are  gentlemen,"  said  Mr.  Randolph,  "not  only 
from  the  Northern,  but  from  the  Southern  States,  who  think  that 
this  unhappy  question — for  such  it  is — of  negro  slavery,  which  the 
Constitution  has  vainly  attempted  to  blink,  by  not  using  the  term, 
should  never  be  brought  into  public  notice,  more  especially  into  that 
of  Congress,  and  most  especially  here.  Sir,  with  every  due  respect 
for  the  gentlemen  who  think  so,  I  differ  from  them,  toto  coelo.  Sir, 
it  is  a  thing  which  cannot  be  hid — it  is  not  a  dry-rot  that  you  can 
cover  with  the  carpet,  until  the  house  tumbles  about  your  ears — you 
might  as  well  try  to  hide  a  volcano  in  full  operation — it  cannot  be 
hid  ;  it  is  a  cancer  in  your  face,  and  must  be  treated  secundum  artem  ; 
it  must  not  be  tampered  with  by  quacks,  who  never  saw  the  disease 
or  the  patient — it  must  be,  if  you  will,  let  alone ;  but  on  this  very 
principle  of  letting  it  alone,  I  have  brought  in  my  resolution.  I 
am  willing  to  play  what  is  called  child's  play — let  me  alone  and 
I  will  let  you  alone ;  let  my  resolution  alone,  and  I  will  say  no- 
thing in  support  of  it  ;  for  there  is  a  want  of  sense  in  saying  any 
thing  in  support  of  a  resolution  that  nobody  opposes.  Sir,  will  the 
Senate  pardon  my  repeating  the  words  of  a  great  man,  which  cannot 
be  too  often  repeated?  'A  small  danger,  menacing  an  inestimable 
object,  is  of  more  importance,  in  the  eyes  of  a  wise  man,  than  the 
greatest  danger  which  can  possibly  threaten  an  object  of  minor  con- 
sequence.' I  do  not  put  the  question  to  you,  sir.  I  know  what  your 
answer  will  be.  I  know  what  will  be  the  answer  of  every  husband, 
father,  son,  and  brother,  throughout  the  Southern  States  ;  I  know  that 
on  this  depends  the  honor  of  every  matron  and  maiden — of  every  ma- 
tron (wife  or  widow)  between  the  Ohio  and  the  G-ulf  of  Mexico.  I  know 
that  upon  it  depends  the  life's  blood  of  the  little  ones  which  are  lying 


NEGRO  SLAVERY.  263 

in  their  cradles,  in  happy  ignorance  of  what  is  passing  around  them ; 
and  not  the  white  ones  only,  for  shall  not  we  too,  kill — shall  we  not 
react  the  scenes  which  were  acted  in  G-uatamala,  and  elsewhere,  except, 
I  hope,  with  far  different  success :  for  if,  with  a  superiority  in  point  of 
numbers,  as  well  as  of  intelligence  and  courage,  we  should  suffer  our- 
selves to  be,  as  them,  vanquished,  we  should  deserve  to  have  negroes 
for  our  task-masters,  and  for  the  husbands  of  our  wives.  This,  then, 
is  the  inestimable  object,  which  the  gentleman  from  Carolina  views  in 
the  same  light  that  I  do,  and  that  you  do  too,  sir,  and  to  which  every 
Southern  bosom  responds ; — a  chord  which,  when  touched,  even  by 
the  most  delicate  hand,  vibrates  to  the  heart  of  every  man  in  our 
country.  I  wish  I  could  maintain,  with  truth,  that  it  came  within  the 
other  predicament — that  it  was  a  small  danger,  but  it  is  a  great  dan- 
ger ;  it  is  a  danger  that  has  increased,  is  increasing,  and  must  be  di- 
minished, or  it  must  come  to  its  regular  catastrophe." 

But  it  is  not  our  purpose  to  make  further  allusion  to  Mr.  Ran- 
dolph's public  acts  during  the  present  excited  session.  Let  us  turn 
to  the  inner  man,  and  view  him  seated  by  his  solitary  fireside,  com- 
muning with  almost  the  only  friend  to  whom  he  felt  at  liberty  to  un- 
veil the  secret  workings  of  his  heart.  Friday,  January  6,  182G,  he 
writes  to  Dr.  Brockenbrough  : 

Your  letter,  addressed  to  Petersburg,  has  just  hove  in  sight;  I 
should  like  "  to  have  a  word  with  you  touching  a  certain  subject." 
When  I  first  heard  of  it  I  was  thunderstruck.  For  that  was  the 
only  person  who  had  (repeatedly)  urged  this  matter  upon  me,  by  the 
strongest  expressions  that  our  language  affords.  At  first  it  revived 
very  strongly  the  recollection  of  the  "  ratting"  (as  the  English  phrase 
it)  among  the  "  minority-men,"  some  twelve  or  fourteen  years  ago : 
when  this  Very  person  (and  long  before  his  seceding  from  us)  wrote 
to  me  somewhat  in  this  strain — "  Let  Monroe  go  over  to  the  ministry, 
if  he  will — as  for  us,"  &c,  &c.  Well,  what  of  all  this  ;  I  have  seen 
and  conversed  with  the  party,  in  the  most  familiar  manner,  without 
one  bitter  feeling.  The  event  was  too  recent  to  be  forgotten,  but  it 
did  not  tinge,  in  the  slightest  degree,  the  kindly  intercourse  between 
us.  Am  I  to  blame  a  man  for  being  what  nature  aud  education  made 
him  ?  In  this  case,  I  am  persuaded  that  all  the  blame  lies  at  the  door 
of  the  latter.  What  could  be  expected  from  such  an  example  (to  say 
nothing  of  the  precepts)  as  this  poor  fellow  had  always  before  him. 
And  again,  is  it  not  more  than  an  even  wager,  that  I  have  defects  at 
least  as  great,  although  not  of  the  same  character?  My  horse  Mark 
Anthony  is  fleeter  than  Janus,  but  Janus  is  the  better  horse.  Why 
should  I  curse  twenty  poor  devils  that  I  could  name,  because  they  are 
mean?     They  can't  help  it.     The  leopard  cannot  change  his  spots. 


264  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

Now,  after  all  this  philosophy,  if  it  may  be  called  such,  do  not 
suppose  that  I  mean  to  compromise  with  fraud,  and  falsehood,  and 
villany,  in  any  shape.  I  only  mean  not  to  run  a  tilt  against  wind- 
mills or  flocks  of  sheep.  Yesterday  I  took  a  good  long  ride  of  eight 
or  nine  miles,  and  am  now  going  to  do  likewise.  J.  R.  of  R. 

To  the  same. 

Saturday,  January  14th.  1826. 

Your  letter  of  Thursday  gives  me  very  great  relief:  continue,  I  pray 
you,  to  write,  if  it  be  but  a  line.  I  noted  Giles's  "  discovery ;"  but. 
this  absurdity  notwithstanding,  it  is  a  stinging  piece.  If  he  were  not 
himself  "  particeps  criminis,"  he  would  touch  upon  the  libel  against 
the  whole  West,  in  the  case  of  John  Smith,  of  Ohio ;  and  above  all, 
the  suspension  of  the  habeas  corpus. 

On  the  whole,  I  am  firmly  persuaded  that  nothing  but  a  paper, 
such  as  he  would  manage  (and  the  vocation  is  as  creditable  as  school- 
keeping),  can  arrest  (if  it  can)  the  present  current  of  affairs. 

Your  questions  relating  to  the  Senate  I  cannot  (agreeably  to  our 

rule)  answer.     As  to  Mr.  M ,  I  did  not  know,  until  I  heard  it 

from  you,  that  he  had  been  in  the  lachrymatory  mood  at  all. 

Poor  Gilmer  !  He  is  another  of  the  countless  victims  of  calomel. 
I  had  indulged  a  hope  that  he  would  at  least  live  to  finish  his  life  of 
Fabricius.  He  told  me  some  years  ago,  that  if  he  survived  me  he 
meant  to  write  a  biography  of  me.  But  what  he  would  have  found 
to  say  that  is  not  in  the  newspapers,  I  cannot  conjecture. 

You  are  right  to  like  the  Ch.  J.'s  Madeira,  or  any  body's,  if  it  be 
old  and  good.  I  ride  every  day  from  six  to  ten  miles.  A  friend  has 
just  told  me  that  M.'s  pathos  excited  great  laughter  in  the  House. 

J.  R.  of  R. 
To  the  same. 

Washington.  January  30th,  1826. 
Your  letter  of  the  28th — Jam  satis  tcrris  nivis.  It  began  to  snow 
about  an  hour  before  day,  and  continues  to  fall  fast  and  furious,  re- 
minding me  of  schoolboy  and  snow-bird  days,  ':  departed,  never  to 
return."  I  rode  out  yesterday  some  six  or  eight  miles,  and  the  day 
before  as  far  (when  I  paid  my  devoirs  to  Madame  la  Presidente,  I 
could  do  no  less).  I  have  even  attended  two  days  in  the  Senate,  but 
if  ever  man  was  dying,  I  am.  It  does  not  take  more  than  one  hour 
for  food,  &c,  to  pass  from  my  esophagus  through  the  rectum,  un- 
changed. This  I  have  proved  with  various  substances.  The  coffee 
passes  off  (not  by  the  bladder)  without  a  change  of  hue  or  smell. 
The  least  mental  fatigue,  above  all,  the  jabber  of  Congress,  prostrates 

me.     My  old  friend,  Mr.  M ,  comes  ';  to  keep  me  company."  with 

the  most  amiable  disposition  in  the  world,  and  leaves  me  exhausted 
and  worn  down.  If  some  one  would  sit  by  and  say  nothing,  I  could 
bear  it ;  but  conversation — no,  no,  no. 


NEGRO  SLAVERY.  265 

I  have  always  believed  that  St.  Thomas  of  Cantingbury's  jewels 
were  Bristol  stones — in  other  words,  that  he  was  insolvent.  What 
else  could  be  expected  from  his  gimcracks  and  crack-brained  notions 
and  "  improvements?"  Ah  !  that  La  Fayette  business.  Do  you  re- 
member my  Cassandra  voice  from  Paris,  about  the  time  of  his  em- 
barkation for  the  U.  S.  ?  I  am  more  and  more  set  against  all  new 
things.  I  only  wanted  to  know  who  C.  G.  was,  because  in  the  En- 
quirer, of  October  the  25th  last,  F.  Key  published  an  answer  to  him ; 
I  have  seen  neither.  I  am  against  all  Colonization,  &c,  societies — 
am  for  the  good  old  plan  of  making  the  negroes  work,  and  thereby 
enabling  the  master  to  feed  and  clothe  them  well,  and  take  care  of 
them  in  sickness  and  old  age. 

To  the  same. 

Wednesday  Morning,  February  1st,  1826. 

Yesterday  we  had  a  very  interesting  debate  in  the  Senate,  in  which 
I  took  part.  I  verily  believe  it  assisted  the  determination  of  my 
disease  to  the  surface,  for  I  was  never  more  animated.  A  superficial 
speech,  you  will  say.  Be  that  as  it  may,  it  drew  upon  me  a  great 
many  handsome  and  nattering  compliments ;  and  from  one  quarter, 
my  friend  Benton  (for  I  was  on  his  side),  I  believe  sincere.  We  dif- 
fered from  the  presiding  officer  upon  what  Mr.  J.  would  call  a 
':  speck"  in  the  political  horizon  ;  but  it  turned  out  to  be  of  vital  con- 
sequence as  we  probed  it.  It  was  laid  over  for  mature  consideration. 
After  the  debate,  and  while  some  Indian  treaties  were  being  read, 
Mr.  C.  sent  for  me,  and  said,  that  the  question  had  assumed  a  new 
and  important  aspect — required  solemn  consideration  and  decision — 
my  views  were  strong  and  important,  &c.  <fcc.  He  then  sent  for  B. 
and  told  him  much  the  same.  He  electioneers  with  great  assiduity. 
Although  it  has  no  influence  on  the  marked  attention  that  I  have  re- 
ceived from  him,  yet  the  civilities  of  the  palace  have  produced  an 
evident  effect  on  the  manner  of  some  others  towards  your  humble 
servant.  Indeed,  since  my  call  on  Mrs.  A  (in  return  for  her  civility 
while  I  was  confined),  M.,  of  Massachusetts,  who  is  the  ear-trumpet 
and  mouthpiece  of  the  palace  in  our  House,  has  changed  his  de- 
meanor from  (not  "  sweet")  "  austere  composure"  to  officious  cor- 
diality. 

Your  letter  of  Monday — my  God  !  where  will  all  this  end  1  It 
will  soon  be  disgraceful  to  be  honest  and  pay  one's  debts.  It  is  bit- 
ter cold,  and  I  am  suffering  with  it  and  erysipelas.  Adieu ! 

To  the  same. 

Monday  Morning,  February  6,  1826. 

Your  letters  are  my  only  comfort :  that  of  the  4th  was  brought  in 
just  now  on  my  breakfast  tray.  I  can't  help  being  sorry  for  that 
poor  man  to  whom  you  were  called  the  morning  you  wrote,  although 

vol.  n.  12 


266  LIFE  0F  J0HN  RANDOLPH. 

he  did,  some  twenty  or  thirty  years  ago  (how  time  passes !)  attempt 
by  a  deep-laid  scheme  of  to  beggar  a  family  that  I  was  much 

attached  to ;  one,  too,  with  which  he  was  nearly  connected,  and  that 
he  kept  upon  the  most  friendly  terms  with — his  debts  have  floored 
him  It  is  strange,  passing  strange — people  will  get  in  debt :  and 
instead  of  working  and  starving  out,  they  go  on  giving  dinners,  keep- 
ing carriages,  and  covering  aching  bosoms  with  smiling  faces,  go 
about  greeting  in  the  market-places,  &c.  I  always  think  that  I  can 
see  the  anguish  under  the  grin  and  grimace,  like  old  mother  Cole's 
dirty  flannel  peeping  out  beneath  her  Brussel's  lace.  This  killed 
poor  H  H.,  and  is  killing  like  a  slow  poison  all  persons  so  circum- 
stanced, who  possess  principle  or  pride.  I  never  see  one  of  these 
martyrs  to  false  pride  writhing  under  their  own  reflections,  that  I  am 
not  in  some  degree  reconciled  to  the  physical  fire  that  I  carry  in  my 

bosom.     The  man  whom  H 's  fall  will  probably  prostrate,  would 

himself  have  been  no  better  off  than  his  principal,  but  for 
speculation  and  a  lucky  sale,  just  as  the  tide  began  to  fall,  a  few 
years  ago. 

I  send  you  the  "  Citizen."  The  schoolmaster  writes  better  than 
his  employer.  J.   R.  of  R. 

To  the  same. 

Monday,  the  20th  February,  1826. 

For  the  first  time  during  the  last  four  or  five  days,  I  got  a  little 
ride  yesterday,  sick  as  I  was  and  am.  I  called  on  the  Ch.  J.,  and 
told  him  what  you  said  about  L.,  and  he  joined  me,  in  a  hearty  appro- 
bation of  his  refusal  to  become  a  candidate  for  the  Assembly,  or  any 
thing  else,  until  he  shall  have  secured  "  a  competence,  however  mode- 
rate, without  which  no  man  can  be  independent,  and  hardly  honest." 
The  words  are  Junius's  to  Woodfall,  when  he  declined  sharing  any 
part  of  the  profits  of  his  celebrated  letters. 

I  told  him,  also,  of  my  firm  and  positive  refusal  to  present  to  the 
Senate  the  petition  of  the  Colonization  Society,  although  earnestly 
entreated  to  do  so,  by  F.  Key.  That  I  thought  the  tendency  of  it 
bad  and  mischievous ;  that  a  spirit  of  morbid  sensibility,  religious 
fanaticism,  vanity,  and  the  love  of  display,  were  the  chief  moving 
causes  of  that  society. 

That  true  humanity  to  the  slave  was  to  make  him  do  a  fair  day's 
work,  and  to  treat  him  with  all  the  kindness  compatible  with  due 
subordination.  By  that  means,  the  master  could  afford  to  clothe  and 
feed  him  well,  and  take  care  of  him  in  sickness  and  old  age  ;  while 
the  morbid  sentimentalist  could  not  do  this.  His  slave  was  unpro- 
vided with  necessaries,  unless  pilfered  from  his  master's  neighbors ; 
because  the  owner  could  not  furnish  them  out  of  the  profits  of  the 
negro's  labor — there  being  none.  And  at  the  master's  death,  the 
poor  slaves  were  generally  sold  for  debt  (because  the  philanthropist 


NEGRO  SLAVERY.  267 

had  to  go  to  bank,  instead  of  drawing  upon  his  crop),  and  were  dis- 
persed from  Carolina  to  the  Balize ;  so  that  in  the  end  the  superfine 
master  turned  out,  like  all  other  ultras,  the  worst  that  could  be  for 
the  negroes. 

This  system  of  false  indulgence,  too,  educates  (I  use  the  word  in 
its  strict  and  true  meaning)  all  those  pampered  menials  who.  sooner 
or  later,  find  their  way  to  some  Fulcher,  the  hand-cuffs,  and  the  Ala- 
bama negro  trader's  slave-chain.  How  many  such  have  I  met  within 
the  different  "  coffies  "  (Mungo  Park)  of  slaves  that  I  had  known  living 
on  the  fat  of  the  land,  and  drest  as  well  as  their  masters  and  mistresses. 
I  wished  all  the  free  negroes  removed,  with  their  own  consent,  out  of  the 
slave  States  especially  ;  but  that,  from  the  institution  of  the  Passover 
to  the  latest  experience  of  man,  it  would  be  found,  that  no  two  dis- 
tinct people  could  occupy  the  same  territory,  under  one  government, 
but  in  the  relation  of  master  and  vassal. 

The  Exodus  of  the  Jews  was  effected  by  the  visible  and  miracu- 
lous interposition  of  the  hand  of  God  ;  and  that  without  the  same 
miraculous  assistance,  the  Colonization  Society  would  not  remove  the 
tithe  of  the  increase  of  the  free  blacks,  while  their  proceedings  and 
talks  disturbed  the  rest  of  the  slaves.  Enough ;  enough  Rain — 
sleet — drizzle.  J.  R.  of  R. 

To  the  same. 

Monday  morning:.  February  27th,  1826. 

Gaillard  died  yesterday,  at  4  o'clock.  P.  M.  Although,  on  this 
account,  the  Senate  will  transact  no  business  to-day,  yet,  as  I  yester- 
day received  from  H.  T.  the  sad  news  of  his  son's  death,  and  have 
Tazewell  to  keep  up  with  us.  I  can  only  acknowledge  your  letter  of 
this  morning  (written  on  Saturday).  Poor  Gilmer  !  he  is  only  gone 
a  little  while  before  all  that  he  loved  or  cared  for.  I  am  proud  that 
I  was  one  of  the  number. 

As  Dr.  says,  "  I  take"  what  you  say  about  V.  B.'s  "  address." 
I  do  assure  you  he  has  not  warmed  himself  into  my  good  graces  by 
flattery,  to  which,  like  all  men.  I  am  accessible,  and  perhaps  more  so 
than  men  generally  are,  although  I  begin  to  think,  that  if  they  go  on 
much  longer  as  they  do  at  present.  I  shall,  like  Louis  Quatorze,  not 
know  when  I  am  flattered.  As  to  V.  B.  and  myself,  we  have  been  a 
little  cool:  it  was  under  that  state  of  things  that  I  mentioned  him. 
He  has  done  our  cause  disservice  by  delay,  in  the  hope  of  getting 
first  Gaillard,  then  Tazewell  (while  he  was  sick  here),  and  since,  while 
absent  at  Norfolk,  and  some  other  aid.  I  was  for  action,  knowing 
that  delay  would  only  give  time  for  the  poison  of  patronage  to  do  its 
office.  His  extreme  delicacy  upon  all  matters  of  money  (upon  which 
he  never  bestows  ;t  thought),  having  (as  Junius  says)  secured  a  com- 
petency however  moderate,  his  scorn  of  debt  or  obligation,  won  him 
first  my  good  opinion.     But  if  he  has  not,  others  have  poured  "  the 


268  LIFE  0F  J0HN  RANDOLPH. 

leprous  distilment  into  the  porches  of  mine  cars."  The  V.  P.  has 
actually  made  love  to  me  ;  and  my  old  friend,  Mr.  Macon,  reminds 
me  daily  of  the  old  major,  who  verily  believed  that  I  was  a  nonesuch 
of  living  men.  In  short,  Friday's  affair  has  been  praised  on  all 
hands,  in  a  style  that  might  have  gorged  the  appetite  of  Cicero  him- 
self. Mr.  M.  returned  on  Saturday  from  Lloyd's  (he  gave  a  party  on 
that  day,  and  had  invited  Mr.  M.  three  times  before,  who  had  ex- 
cused himself),  and  asked  me  if  my  face  did  not  burn.  I  really  did 
not  comprehend  the  question.  It  was  a  saying,  when  I  was  a  boy,  that 
when  backbitten  the  ears  burned.  He  went  on  in  a  way  that  I  shall 
not  repeat,  as  the  sentiments  of  every  man  at  table. 

To  the  same. 

March  4th.  182G  ;  Washington,  Saturday  morn.,  four  o'clock. 
I  have  been  up  an  hour  and  a  half,  trying  to  kindle  a  fire,  and  have 
at  last  succeeded.     I  cannot  sleep.     Death  shakes  his  dart  at  me  ; 
but  I  do  not,  cannot  fear  him.      He  has  already  killed  my  friends — 

Gilmer Tazewell.     I  fear  that  I  shall  never  see  the  last  again.     The 

first  is  removed  for  ever.  This  February  and  these  ides  of  March 
will  live  in  future  times,  as  the  black  year  does  yet  in  the  North  of 
Europe — in  Iceland  particularly  ;  that  it  depopulated  of  its  enligh- 
tened, virtuous,  and  pious  inhabitants  ;  poor  indeed,  but  pious  and 
good,  and  therefore  happy ;  happy  as  mortality  can  be.     And  what 

is  that  2 

This  cold  black  plague  has  destroyed  the  only  two  men  that  Vir- 
ginia has  bred  since  the  Revolution,  who  had  real  claims  to  learning  ; 
the  rest  are  all  shallow  pretenders ;  they  were  scholars,  and  ripe  and 
good  ones,  and  the  soil  was  better  than  the  culture.  Here  the  mate- 
rial surpassed  the  workmanship,  tasteful  and  costly  as  it  was. 

I  had  read  "  Burns  and  Byron  "  before  I  received  the  Compiler. 
I  am  a  passionate  admirer  of  both.  I  shall  not  pretend  to  decide 
between  them  in  point  of  genius.  They  were  the  most  extraordinary 
men  that  England  and  Scotland  have  produced  since  the  days  of  Mil- 
ton and  Napier  of  Merchistou,  although  there  be  no  assignable  rela- 
tion between  logarithms  and  poetry.     They  are  incommensurable. 

Write  ;  but  do  not  expect  bulletins  for  some  days.  I  have  no 
phthisis,  nor  fear  of  it.  My  cough  is  symptomatic,  or  sympathetic, 
or  some  other  "  sym." 

McNaught  is  not  the  only  suicide,  even  in  Richmond.  Now, 
when  too  late,  I  am  a  confirmed  toast-and-water  man.  My  convivial- 
ities for  fifteen  years  (1807-1822)  are  now  telling  upon  me.  If  man- 
kind had  ever  profited  even  by  their  own  experience  !  Now  that  poor 
Frank  is  gone,  and  cannot  execute  his  threat  of  writing  my  life,  I 
would  turn  autobiographer.  But  he  meant  to  dedicate  to  Tazewell ! 
That  word,  that  name    seems  to  petrify  me.      If  living,  blind  like 


LETTERS  FROM  ABROAD.  269 

"  Thamyris  and  blind  Meonides,"  and  like  a  greater  than  they — he 
who  achieved  "  things  unattempted  yet  in  prose  or  rhyme." 

I  am  really  ill ;  the  whole  machine  is  rotten ;  the  nails  and 
screws  that  I  drive  will  not  take  hold,  but  draw  out  with  the  decayed 
wood.  J.  R.  of  R. 


CHAPTER    XXXIII. 

LETTERS  FROM    ABROAD. 

Early  in  May,  before  the  adjournment  of  Congress,  Mr.  Randolph 
sailed  from  the  Delaware  Bay  on  his  third  voyage  to  Europe.  He 
arrived  in  Liverpool  about  the  middle  of  June.  "  I  have  barely  time 
to  tell  you,"  says  he  to  a  friend,  "  that  I  had  a  very  disagreeable  pas- 
sage, finding  B n,  the  master  of  the  Alexander,  to  be   the  most 

conceited  and  insufferable  tyrant  of  the  quarter-deck  that  I  ever  saw, 
and  I  have  been  to  sea  going  on  these  three  and  forty  years." 

He  remained  in  Liverpool  for  some  time,  enjoying  the  hospitali- 
ties of  the  place.  "I  am  arrived  in  time  for  elections,"  says  he. 
"  You  will  see  a  lame  report  of  an  aquatic  excursion,  in  which  I  bore 
a  part,  yesterday.  Mr.  Huskisson  and  Mr.  John  Bolton  are  just 
arrived  to  take  me  to  the  Mayor's  to  dinner."  From  Liverpool  Mr. 
Randolph  travelled  extensively  in  England,  Wales,  and  on  the  Con- 
tinent. We  are  happy  to  have  it  in  our  power  to  allow  him  to  speak 
of  those  travels  in  his  own  words. 

To  Dr.  Brockeribrough. 

Holkham,  Sunday,  July  16th,  1826. 
A  month  has  now  elapsed  since  I  landed  in  England,  during  which 
time  I  have  not  received  a  line  from  any  friend,  except  Benton,  who 
wrote  to  me  on  the  eve  of  his  departure  from  Babylon  the  Great  to 
Missouri.  Missouri !  and  here  am  I  writing  in  the  parlor  of  the  New 
Inn,  at  the  gate  of  Mr.  Coke's  park,  where  art  has  mastered  nature 
in  one  of  her  least  amiable  moods.  To  say  the  truth,  he  that  would 
see  this  country  to  advantage  must  not  end  with  the  barren  sands 
and  flat  infertile  healths  (strike  out  the  /,  I  meant  to  write  heaths) 
of  the  east  country,  but  must  reserve  the  Vale  of  Severn  and  Wales 
for  a  bonne  bouche.  Although  I  was  told  at  Norwich  that  Mr.  Coke 
was  at  home  (and  by  a  particular  friend  of  his  too),  yet  I  find  that 


270  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

he  and  Lady  Anne  are  gone  to  the  very  extremity  of  this  huge  county 
to  a  wool  fair,  at  Thetford,  sixty-five  miles  off;  and  while  my  com- 
panion. Mr.  Williams,  of  S.  C.  (son  of  David  R.  W.),  is  gone  to  the 
Hall,  I  am  resolved  to  hestow,  if  not  "  all,"  a  part  at  least  of  "  my 
tediousness"  upon  you.  Tediousness,  indeed,  for  what  have  I  to 
write  about,  unless  to  tell  you  that  my  health,  so  far  from  getting  bet- 
ter, was  hardly  ever  worse.  Like  the  gallant  General  H.,  I  am 
"pursued  by  a  diarrhoea"  that  confines  me  to  my  quarters,  and  may 
deprive  my  native  land  of  the  "honor"  of  my  sepulchre.  The  mis- 
chief is,  that  in  this  age  of  fools  and  motions  in  Congress,  my  ashes 
can  have  no  security  that  some  wiseacre  may  not  get  a  vote  (because 
no  one  will  oppose  him  through  mere  vis  inertia  and  ennui),  that  my 
"remains"  too  may  be  removed  to  their  parent  earth. 

Mr.  Williams  has  been  very  attentive  and  kind  to  me.  I  have 
been  trying  to  persuade  him  to  abandon  me  to  the  underwriters  as  a 
total  loss,  but  he  will  not  desert  me  ;  so  that  I  meditate  giving  him. 
the  slip  for  his  own  sake.  We  saw  Dudley  Inn  and  a  bad  race  at 
Newmarket  on  our  way  to  Norwich.  There  we  embarked  on  the 
river  Yare,  and  proceeded  to  Yarmouth  by  the  steam  packet.  We 
returned  to  Norwich  by  land,  and  by  different  routes ;  he  by  the 
direct  road,  and  I  by  Becdes,  fifteen  miles  further ;  and  yet  I 
arrived  first.  Through  Lord  Suffield's  politeness,  who  gave  me  a 
most  hearty  invitation  to  Gun  ton,  I  was  enabled  to  see  the  Castle  (now 
the  county  jail)  to  the  best  advantage.  His  lordship  is  a  great  pri- 
son discipline  financier,  and  was  very  polite  to  me  when  I  was  in 
England  four  years  ago.  I  met  him  by  mere  accident  at  the  inn  at 
Norwich,  where  the  coach  from  Beccles  stopped. 

At  this  distance  of  time  and  place,  our  last  winter's  squabbles, 
over  Panama  itself,  seem  somewhat  diminished  in  importance.  For 
my  part  if  I  can  get  rid  of  that  constitutional  disease,  which  certain 
circumstances  brought  on  last  winter  with  symptoms  of  great  aggra- 
vation, I  shall  care  very  little  about  the  game,  and  nothing  about  them 
that  play  it. 

With  some  of  these  circumstances,  you  are  unacquainted — the 
chief  one  was  the  long  absence  of  my  coadjutor,  which  flung  upon 
my  shoulders  a  load  that  Atlas  could  not  have  upheld. 

I  see  that  Ritchie  has  come  out  against  me.  I  looked  for  nothing 
better.  But  why  talk  of  such  things.  M.  H.  knows  more  than  he 
cares  to  tell.  I  was  detained  in  town  to  attend  the  funeral  of  Mrs. 
Marx  of  Croydon.  She  was  a  charming  woman,  and  her  attention  to 
poor  Tudor,  on  his  death  bed,  laid  me  under  heavier  obligations 
than  this  (equivocal)  mark  of  respect  to  her  memory  can  repay. 
God  willing,  I  shall  return  to  the  United  States  with  De  Cost,  who 
leaves  Liverpool  on  the  24th  of  October,  in  the  York.  It  is  possi- 
ble that  I   may    be   taken  with  a  fit  of  longing   to    see   Roanoke, 


LETTERS  FROM  ABROAD.  271 

(where  I  heartily  wish  that  I  now  could  be)  that  may  accelerate  my 
return.  Meanwhile,  you  can  have  no  conception  of  the  pleasure  that 
a  long  gossiping  letter,  from  you,  could  give  me.  It  would  cheer 
my  exile,  which  is  no  more  voluntary  than  that  of  the  Romans,  who 

were  forbidden  the  use  of  fire  and  water  at  Rome,  and  I  was but 

I  can't  write  now,  for  my  heart  is  heavy  to  sadness.  It  well  may  be 
so,  for  it  has  not  been  kindly  treated.  God  bless  you  both — I  hope 
that  the  experience  of  last  year  has  not  been  thrown  away  upon  you. 
Here  the  climate  has  been  almost  as  bad  as  ours  is  in  a  favorable 
summer.  The  drought  has  been  unparalleled  and  the  distress  im- 
pending over  the  land,  tremendous.  A  failure  of  the  potato  crop, 
in  Ireland,  threatens  to  thicken  the  horrors  of  the  picture.  The 
ministers  are  not  upon  a  "  bed  of  roses."  Musquitoes  abound  here. 
I  have  just  killed  a  "  gallinipper."     Adieu  !  J.  R.  of  R. 

To  the  same. 

The  Hague.  Tuesday,  August  8.  1826. 
"  The  Portfolio  reached  me  in  safety."     So  much  had  I  written 
of  a  letter  to  you  in  London,  but  I  was  obliged  to  drop  my  pen  in  G. 
Marx's  compting-house,  and  here  I  am,  and  at  your  service  at  the 
Hague.     My  dear  friend,  I  wish  you  could  see, — and  why  can't  you  ? 
for  I  wear  a  window  in  my  breast — what  is  passing  in  my  bosom. 
You  could  find  there,  thoughts  black  as  hell  sometimes,  but  nothing 
of  the  sort  towards  any  one  of  the  few — the  very  few — who,  like  you, 
have  clung  to  me,  through  good  and  evil  reports.     What  an  ill  star- 
red wretch  have  I  been  through  life — a  not  uneventful  life — and  yet, 
how  truly  blest  have  I  been  in  my  friends ;  not  one,  no,  not  one  has 
ever  betrayed  me,  whom  I  have  admitted  into  my  sanctum  sancto- 
rum.    Bryan,  Benton,  Rutledge — let  me  not  forget  him,  whom  I 
knew  before  either  of  the  others,  although  for  the  last  thirty  years 
we  have  met  but  once.     The  last  letter  that  I  received  on  my  depar- 
ture from  Washington,  was  from  him.     In  the  late  election,  he  was 
the  warm  supporter  of  General  J.,  whom  he  personally  knew  and  es- 
teems ;  and  I  confess  that  the  testimony  of  one  whom  I  have  known 
intimately  for  more  than  six  and  thirty  years,  to  be  sans  peur  et  sans 
reprocJie,  and  who  is  an  observer  and  an  excellent  judge  of  mankind, 
weighs  as  it  ought  to  weigh  with  me,  in  favor  of  the  veteran.     I 
know  him  (Genl.  J.)  to  be  a  man  of  strong  and  vigorous  mind,  of 
dignified  deportment,  and  is.  I  believe,  omni  f<znore  solatits.  I  think 
this  is  no  small  matter.     In  the  olden  time,  when  credit  existed,  be- 
cause there  was  real  capital,  a  man  in  debt — I  mean  a  landed  man 
in  debt — might  be  trusted.     But  not  so  now,  for  reasons  that  are  cu- 
rious and  amusing ;  which  (were  I  to  state  them)  would  cause  this 
letter  to  run  into  an  essay  on  the  progress  of  society,  that  would  re- 
quire quires  instead  of  pages. 


272  LIFE  °F  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

In  my  passage  from  London  I  met  with  a  serious  accident,  that 
might  have  been  fatal.  We  broke  our  engine,  and  when  the  pilot 
boarded  us,  I  was  desirous  to  get  on  board  of  his  boat ;  to  do  this, 
I  had  to  cross  the  quarter-dock.  The  sky-light  of  the  ladies'  cabin 
was  open,  but  (poiir  bienseance)  the  "orifice  "  was  covered  with  our 
colors,  and  the  grating  being  removed  only  about  18  inches,  a  com- 
plete pit-fall  or  trap  was  made,  into  which  I  fell,  and  my  right  side, 
immediately  below  the  insertion  of  the  false  ribs  into  the  spine,  was 
'•  brought  up  by  the  combings  of  the  sky-light."  I  lay  for  some  mi- 
nutes nearly  senseless,  and  it  was  more  than  an  hour  before  I  could 
be  moved  from  the  deck.  My  whole  side,  kidney  and  liver,  are  very 
much  affected.  It  has  obliged  me  to  suspend  my  course  of  Swain's 
Panacea,  upon  which  I  entered  a  few  days  before  I  left  London. 

I  have  not  seen  Mr.  Gallatin.  Mr.  John  A.  King,  our  charge 
d'affaires,  was  very  polite  to  me.  We  met  on  neutral  ground,  at  the 
Traveller's  Club-House,  in  Pall  Mall,  No.  49. 

I  am  pleased  with  Holland.  Cleanliness  here  becomes  a  virtue. 
My  companion's.  Mr.  Win's  passport  wanting  some  formularies,  and 
our  charge  (Mr.  C.  Hughes  !  oh  for  some  of  Giles'  notes  of  admira- 
tion !  !  !  !)  not  being  present,  Sir  Charles  Bagot  has  been  good  enough 
to  do  the  needful.  I  waited  upon  him  in  Mr.  Win's  behalf  and  was 
received  by  him  with  the  greatest  warmth,  asked  to  dine  en  famillc. 
(as  I  leave  the  Hague  to-morrow  for  Leyden),  and  told  that  any  let- 
ters brought  to  dinner  would  be  forwarded  by  his  courier  to  London. 
To  him,  therefore,  I  am  obliged  for  a  conveyance  for  this. 

Apropos  to  Giles.  I  think  I  know  him  to  the  bottom,  if  he  has 
any  bottom.  I  know  also  the  advantages  that  will  be  taken  of  me, 
the  formidable  array  of  enemies  that  I  have  to  encounter.  I  might 
have  neutralized  some  of  them;  but  as  Bonaparte  said  on  another 
occasion.  "  it  is  not  in  my  character  "  Whatever  may  be  the  decision 
of  the  Virginia  Assembly  on  my  case,  I  shall  always  say  that  a  ca- 
pricious change  of  her  public  agents  has  never  been  the  vice  of  the 
Government  or  the  people  of  Virginia,  and  that  whenever  a  man  is 
dismissed  from  the  service  of  either,  it  is  strong  presumptive  evi- 
dence {prima  facie)  of  his  unfitness  for  the  place. 

I  hope,  however,  that  no  report  of  my  speeches  will  be  taken  as 
evidence  of  what  I  have  uttered,  for  I  have  never  seen  any  thing 
further  from  a  just  representation  than  the  report  of  one  that  G.  and 
S.  say  I  in  part  revised,  and  so  I  did,  and  if  they  had  printed  it  by 
their  own  proof-sheet  now  in  London,  I  should  have  been  better  sa- 
tisfied with  that  part;  the  first,  that  I  did  not  revise,  is  mangled  and 
hardly  intelligible  even  to  me.  The  warning,  which  they  make  me 
give  to  my  friend  from  Missouri,  is  to  poor  little  Miles  of  Mass.,  and 
the  whole  affair  is  as  much  bedevilled  as  if  they  had  at  random  picked 
out  every  other  word.  So  much  for  that. — Neither  Gales  (whom  I 
solicited)  nor  Seaton  took  down  my  speeches. 


LETTERS  FROM  ABROAD.  273 

Your  intelligence  about  the  election,  about  W.  S.  A.,  and  W.  R. 
J.,  and  W.  B.  Gr.,  was  highly  gratifying.  I  hope  that  my  initials  are 
intelligible  to  you,  for  your  Miss  S.,  upon  whom  you  say  Mr.  M.  D. 
was  attending,  is  une  inconnue  a  moi.  I  did  not  know  that  you  had 
any  Richmond  Belles,  of  whom  the  Beaux  could  say,  "  I  love  my  love 
with  an  S.,  because,"  &c,  &c. 

Poor  Stephenson,  I  think,  has  no  daughter,  or  child,  even.  Remem- 
ber me  kindly  to  him  and  the  Lord  Chief,  and  do  not  forget  my  best 
love  and  duty  to  madame.  Tell  her,  and  mark  it  yourself,  that  you 
at  home  may  and  can  write  long  gossiping  letters,  but  a  man  at  the 
end  of  a  journey,  harassed  by  a  valet  de  place,  and  commissionaire 
j)OK,r  le  passeporte,  has  no  stomach  but  for  his  coffee  and  bed.  Such 
is  my  case  (this  day  excepted,  and  even  to-day  I  am  a  good  deal  wea- 
ried by  a  jaunt  to  Scheveling,  and  Mr.  Wm's  business),  and  such  has 
it  been  since  I  set  my  foot  on  the  quay  at  Liverpool. 

And  so  old  Mr.  Adams  is  dead  ;  on  the  4th  of  July,  too,  just  half 
a  century  after  our  Declaration  of  Independence  ;  and  leaving  his  son 
on  the  throne.  This  is  Euthenasia,  indeed.  They  have  killed  Mr. 
Jefferson,  too,  on  the  same  day,  but  I  don't  believe  it. 

Great  news  from  Turkey.  That  country  is  either  to  be  renovated 
as  a  great  European  power,  or  it  is  to  be  blotted  from  the  list  of  na- 
tions, at  least  on  this  side  the  Hellespont.  It  is  a  horse  medicine 
now  in  operation.     It  will  kill  or  cure. 

I  am  sensible  that  this  letter  is  not  worth  sending  across  the  At- 
lantic.    But  what  am  I  to  do ;  you  expect  me  to  write. 

Pray,  has  the  Enquirer  come  out  against  me.     I  see  something  that 

looks  like  it  in  the  matter  of  Mr.  B\,  of  M s.     Le  vrai  n 'est pas  tou- 

jours  le  vraisemblable.  There  is  a  dessous  de  cartes  there,  that  is  not 
understood.  But  who  does  really  understand  any  thing  1  The  En- 
glish know  us  only  through  the  medium  of  New- York  and  Yankee  news- 
papers, and  which  is  worse,  through  the  Yankees  themselves.  The  only 
Virginia  papers  that  I  saw  at  the  North  and  South  American  Coffee 
House,  were  the  Norfolk  Beacon,  ditto  Herald,  and  Richmond  Whig. 
They  don't  take  the  Enquirer.  What  a  pretty  notion  they  must 
have  of  us  in  Virginia.  Adieu  for  the  present. 

To  the  same. 

Pall  Mall,  Sept.  22,  1826.     Friday. 

I  write  because  you  request  me  to  do  so ;  but  really,  my  dear 
friend,  I  have  nothing  to  tell  you,  that  you  may  not  find  in  the  news- 
papers ;  and  they  are  as  dull  and  as  empty  as  the  town.  They  who 
can  take  pleasure  in  the  records  of  crime,  may  indeed  find  amuse- 
ment in  Bow  Street  and  other  criminal  reports  It  is  now  agreed  on 
all  hands,  that  misery,  crime  and  profligacy  are  in  a  state  of  rapid 
and  alarming  increase.     The  Pitt  and  paper  system  (for  although  he 

VOL.  II.  12* 


274  LIFE  0F  J0HN  RANDOLPH. 

did  not  begin  it,  yet  he  brought  it  to  its  last  stage  of  ini-perfection), 
is  now  developing  features  that  "  fright  the  isle  from  its  propriety." 

Your  letter  reached  me  in  Paris,  where  I  was  in  a  measure  com- 
pelled to  go,  in  consequence  of  my  having  incautiously  set  my  foot  in 
that  huge  man-trap,  France.  I  had  there  neither  time  nor  opportu- 
nity to  answer  it,  and  now  I  have  not  power  to  do  it.  The  dinner 
to  M.  does,  I  confess,  not  a  little  surprise  me.  I  know  not  what  to 
think  of  these  times,  and  of  the  state  of  things  in  our  country.  The 
vulgarity  and  calumny  of  the  press  I  could  put  up  with,  if  I  could 
see  any  tokens  of  that  manly  straight-forward  spirit  and  manner 
that  once  distinguished  Virginia.  Sincerity  and  truth  are  so  far  out 
of  fashion  that  nobody  now-a-days  seems  to  expect  them  in  the  inter- 
course of  life.  But  I  am  becoming  censorious — and  how  can  I  help 
it,  in  this  canting  and  speaking  age,  where  the  very  children  are  made 
to  cry  or  laugh  as  a  well-drilled  recruit  shoulders  or  grounds  his  fire- 
lock. 

I  dined  yesterday  with  Mr.  Marx.  It  was  a  private  party — and 
took  additional  cold.  This  morning  my  expectoration  is  quite  bloody, 
but  I  do  not  apprehend  that  it  comes  from  the  lungs.  It  is  disagree- 
able, however,  not  only  in  itself,  but  because  I  have  promised  my 
Lord  Chief  Justice  Best  to  visit  him  at  his  seat  in  Kent,  and  another 
gentleman,  also,  in  the  same  county  ;  " invicta"  "  unconquered  Kent." 

Mr.  Marx  has  shipped  my  winter  clothing  to  his  brother.  By  this 
time  you  will  be  thinking  of  a  return  to  Richmond  ;  and  before  this 
reaches  you,  I  hope  that  you  and  madame  will  be  restored  to  the  com- 
forts of  your  own  fireside,  where  I  mean  to  come  and  tell  you  of  my 
travels.     God  bless  you  both.  J.  R.  of  R. 

To  the  same. 

Pall  Mall,  October  13,  1826. 

Another  packet  has  arrived,  and  no  letter  for  me.  The  last  that 
I  received  from  you  was  (in  Paris)  dated  July.  How  is  this,  my 
good  friend  %  you,  who  know  how  I  yearn  for  intelligence  from  the 
other  side  of  the  Atlantic,  and  that  I  have  no  one  to  give  it  to  me 
but  yourself. 

Mr.  W.  J.  Barksdale  writes  his  father,  that  a  run  will  be  made 

at  me  by  Gr s,  this  winter.     On  this  subject,  I  can  only  repeat 

what  I  have  said  before — that  when  the  Commonwealth  of  Virginia 
dismisses  a  servant,  it  is  strong  presumptive  evidence  of  his  unfit- 
ness for  the  station.  If  it  shall  apply  to  my  own  case,  I  cannot  help 
it.  But  I  should  have  nothing  to  wish  on  this  subject,  if  the  As- 
sembly could  be  put  in  possession  of  a  tolerably  faithful  account  of 
what  I  have  said  and  done.  I  have  been  systematically  and  indus- 
triously misrepresented.  I  had  determined  to  devote  this  last  sum- 
mer to  a  revision  of  my  speeches,  but  my  life  would  have  paid  the 
forfeit,  had  I  persisted  in  that  determination.     Many  of  the  misrepre- 


HIS  DEFEAT  FOR  THE  SENATE.  275 

sentations  proceed  from  the  "  ineffable  stupidity"  of  the  reporters,  but 
some  must,  I  think,  be  intentional.  Be  that  as  it  may,  the  mangled 
limbs  of  Medea's  children,  were  as  much  like  the  living  creations  as 
the  disjecta  membra  of  my  speeches  resemble  what  I  really  did  say. 
In  most  instances  my  meaning  has  been  mistaken.  In  some  it  has 
been  reversed.     If  I  live,  I  will  set  this  matter  right.     So  much  for 

I  see  that  Peyton  R.  advertises  his  land  on River.     This 

was  the  last  of  my  name  and  race  left  whom  I  would  go  and  see. 
The  ruin  is  no  doubt  complete.  Dr.  Archer  has  -  resumed  the  prac- 
tice of  the  bar ;"  and  poor  Mrs.  Tabb,  by  the  death  of  Mrs.  Coupland, 
is  saddled  with  two  more  helpless  grand-children.  She  is  the  best 
and  noblest  creature  living ;  and  I  pray  God  that  I  may  live  once 
more  to  see  her — a  true  specimen  of  the  old  Virginia  matron. 

On  the  24th,  God  willing,  I  depart  with  DeCost,  in  the  York. 
My  health  is  by  no  means  so  good  as  it  has  been  since  my  arrival  on 
this  side  the  Atlantic ;  but  I  have  made  up  my  mind  to  endure  life 
to  the  last. 

My  best  regards  to  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Rootes.  I  exerted  myself  to 
see  her  proteges,  Jane  and  Marianna  Bell,  but  they  were  at  Rams- 
gate,  out  of  my  reach.  Mr.  Barksdale  talks  of  returning  to  Virginia 
next  autumn.     I  fear  that  he  will  put  it  off  till  it  is  too  late. 

Town  is  empty,  and  I  live  a  complete  hermit,  in  London.  If  you 
see  the  English  newspapers,  you  will  see  what  a  horrible  state  of  so- 
ciety exists  in  this  strange  country,  where  one  class  is  dying  of 
hunger  and  another  with  surfeit.  The  amount  of  crime  is  fearful; 
and  cases  of  extreme  atrocity  are  not  wanting.  The  ministry  will 
not  find  themselves  upon  a  bed  of  roses  when  Parliament  meets. 


-•-•-♦- 


CHAPTER    XXXIV. 

HIS    DEFEAT    FOR    THE    SENATE. 

At  the  opening  of  Congress,  in  December,  1826,  Mr.  Randolph  took 
up  his  winter  quarters  at  his  old  lodgings,  Dowson's,  No.  2,  on  Capi- 
tol Hill.  His  health  was  extremely  bad  during  the  winter.  Almost 
his  only  companion,  was  his  old  and  tried  friend,  Mr.  Macon,  of 
North  Carolina — a  man  whose  matured  wisdom,  simplicity  of  man- 
ners, and  integrity  of  character,  distinguished  him  as  the  admired 
relict  of  a  purer  age,  and  the  venerable  patriarch  of  a  new  genera- 


276  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

tion.  How  pleasant  it  is  to  look  into  the  quiet  parlor  of  those  two 
remarkable  men  !  While  the  busy  and  anxious  politicians  were  hold- 
ing their  secret  conclaves,  and  plotting  the  means  of  self-advance- 
ment, they  sat,  whole  hours  together,  in  the  long  winter  nights,  keep- 
ing each  other  company.  In  silence  they  sat  and  mused,  as  the  fire 
burned.  Each  had  his  own  private  sorrows  and  domestic  cares  to 
brood  over ;  both  felt  the  weight  of  years  pressing  upon  them,  and 
still  more,  the  wasting  hand  of  disease.  They  had  long  since  learned 
to  look  upon  the  honors  of  the  world  as  empty  shadows,  and  to 
value  the  good  opinion  of  the  wise  and  good  more  than  the  applause 
of  a  multitude.  Nothing  but  the  purest  patriotism,  an  ardent  de- 
votion to  their  country  and  her  noble  institutions,  could  hold  them  to 
the  discharge  of  their  unpleasant  duties,  while  every  admonition  of 
nature  warned  them  to  lay  aside  the  harness  of  battle,  and  be  at 
rest. 

What  eventful  scenes  had  they  passed  through !  Side  by  side 
they  stood  and  beheld  the  young  eagle  plume  himself  for  flight,  and 
mount  into  the  sky,  with  liberty  and  universal  emancipation  inscribed 
on  his  star-spangled  banner.  With  anxious  eye  they  saw  him  plunge 
into  the  dark  clouds,  and  battle  with  the  storms,  and  hailed  him  with 
delight  as  he  emerged  from  the  perils  that  encompassed  his  path,  and 
glanced  his  outspread  wing  in  the  sunbeams  of  returning  day,  and 
wafted  himself  higher  and  still  higher  in  his  ethereal  flight. 

But  now,  behold  !  in  mid-career  a  mortal  foe  encounters  him  in 
fiercest  battle — "  An  eagle  and  a  serpent  wreathed  in  fight !" — and 
like  the  maiden  on  the  sea-shore  did  they  watch,  with  suppressed 
heart,  "  the  event  of  that  portentous  fight." 

"  Around,  around,  in  ceaseless  circles  wheeling, 
With  clang  of  wings  and  screams,  the  Eagle  sailed 
Incessantly — sometimes  on  high,  concealing 
Its  lessening  orbs — sometimes,  as  if  it  failed, 
Dropp'd  through  the  air ;  and  still  it  shrieked  and  wailed, 
And  casting  back  its  eager  head,  with  beak 
And  talon  unremittingly  assailed 
The  wreathed  Serpent,  who  did  ever  seek 
Upon  his  enemy's  heart  a  mortal  wound  to  wreak. 

"  What  life,  what  power,  was  kindled  and  arose 
Within  the  sphere  of  that  appalling  fray ! 

********* 


HIS  DEFEAT  FOR  THE  SENATE.  277 

Swift  changes  in  that  comhat — many  a  check, 
And  many  a  change,  a  dark  and  wild  turmoil : 
Sometimes  the  Snake  around  his  enemy's  neck 
Lock'd  in  stiff  rings  his  adamantine  coil, 
Until  the  Eagle,  faint  with  pain  and  toil, 
Remitted  his  strong  flight,  and  near  the  sea 
Languidly  flutter'd,  hopeless  so  to  foil 
His  adversary,  who  then  rear'd  on  high 
His  red  and  burning  crest,  radiant  with  victory. 

"Then  on  the  white  edge  of  the  bursting  surge, 

Where  they  had  sunk  together,  would  the  Snake 

Relax  his  suffocating  grasp,  and  scourge 

The  wind  with  his  wild  writhings ;  for  to  break 

That  chain  of  torment,  the  vast  bird  would  shake 

The  strength  of  his  unconquerable  wings, 

As  in  despair,  and  with  his  sinewy  neck, 

Dissolve  in  sudden  shock  those  linked  rings, 
Then  soar,  as  swift  as  smoke  from  a  volcano  springs." 

So  may  our  country,  like  her  noble  symbol,  triumph  over  every 
enemy  !  So  may  she  shake  the  strength  of  her  unconquerable  wings, 
and  dissolve,  in  sudden  shock,  the  adamantine  coil  of  that  wreathed 
serpent  that  now  seeks  upon  her  heart  a  mortal  wound  to  wreak ! 

After  this  manner,  we  may  suppose  that  those  venerable  sages, 
seated  by  their  solitary  fireside,  looked  back  on  the  rapid  career  of 
their  country — its  dangers  and  triumphs  of  past  years,  in  which  they 
had  participated — and  meditated  with  awe  and  trembling  on  the 
many  difficulties  that  now  beset  her  path.  What  a  treasure  of  wis- 
dom, could  those  meditations  have  been  embodied  in  words,  and 
handed  down  for  our  instruction  !  But  a  faint  glimmering  of  what 
passed  in  the  mind  of  one  of  those  men,  may  be  found  in  the  letters 
at  the  close  of  this  chapter. 

Mr.  Randolph  continued  faithful  in  the  discharge  of  his  duties  in 
the  Senate.  He  rarely  opened  his  mouth  during  the  session,  but 
made  it  a  point  never  to  miss  a  vote.  He  suffered  martyrdom  during 
many  a  tedious  and  protracted  debate  ;  but,  however  painful,  he 
never  abandoned  his  post  when  action  was  required. 

But  his  enemies  would  not  allow  the  old  Commonwealth  of  Vir- 
ginia long  to  be  honored  by  the  services,  and  adorned  by  the  illus- 
trious character,  of  her  most  devoted  and  faithful  son.  Too  faithful 
in  his  devotion,  she  again  was  made  to  deal  out  to  him  his  accustomed 
reward — "a  step-son's  portion." 


278  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

Mr.  Randolph's  doctrine  was  too  stern,  abstemious,  and  unpalata- 
ble to  the  lovers  and  the  parasites  of  power.  His  restrictive  system 
had  grown  obsolete.  Lulled  in  the  lap  of  prosperity,  the  people  had 
ceased  to  listen  to  his  warning  voice.  Too  often  had  he  repeated  to 
unwilling  ears,  "  that  the  inevitable  tendency  of  this  system,  by  even 
a  fair  exercise  of  the  powers  of  the  Federal  Government,  has  a  cen- 
tripetal force — the  centrifugal  force  not  being  sufficient  to  overcome 
it ;  and  at  every  periodic  revolution,  we  are  drawing  nearer  and 
nearer  to  the  final  extinguishment  that  awaits  us."  They  ceased  to 
listen  to  him,  or  returned  such  answer  as  was  given  to  the  prophets 
of  old  :  Are  not  things  now  as  they  were  before,  and  have  always 
been  ?  then  hush  your  babblings,  and  disturb  not  the  people  with 
your  idle  prophecies. 

Even  in  his  native  State,  that  had  been  the  standard-bearer  of  the 
doctrine  of  State-rights,  he  now  found,  to  his  mortification,  a  woful 
degeneracy.  In  the  days  of  Hamilton  and  the  elder  Adams,  when 
the  centripetal  force  of  the  Federal  Government,  by  an  intense  over- 
action,  was  rapidly  hurrying  the  system  to  its  final  catastrophe,  the 
counterpoise  of  Virginia,  almost  alone,  restored  the  rightful  balance, 
and  gave  it  once  more  an  onward  and  harmonious  movement.  But 
now,  in  these  latter  days,  when  the  legitimate  successors  of  old  fede- 
ralism, under  a  new  name,  were  in  the  ascendent,  the  position  of  Vir- 
ginia in  regard  to  them  was  not  merely  doubtful,  but  she  was  about  to 
throw  her  whole  weight  on  the  side  of  centralism,  by  rejecting  from 
her  councils  the  only  man  that  could  arrest  the  rapid  tendencies  of 
the  Government  in  that  direction.  From  1800  to  the  present  time, 
there  had  been  scarcely  a  show  of  opposition  in  Virginia  to  the  con- 
servative States-rights  doctrine  of  George  Mason  and  Thomas  Jef- 
ferson. But  during  the  "  era  of  good  feelings,"  and  the  undisturbed 
repose  of  Mr.  Monroe's  administration,  the  pernicious  doctrines  of  a 
contrary  school  had  been  widely  disseminated.  And  now  that  the 
elements  of  party  strife  were  again  set  in  motion,  mainly  through  the 
exertions  of  Mr.  Randolph  himself ;  now  that  the  great  fountains  of 
the  political  deep  were  broken  up,  and  men  were  struggling  tore-form 
themselves  around  some  fixed  principles,  according  to  their  natural 
affinities,  without  regard  to  former  associations,  which  had  long  since 
been  obliterated,  it  was  discovered  that  the  old  federalism  of  John 
Adams,  newly  baptized,  had  numerous  and  powerful  friends  in  a  land 


HIS  DEFEAT  FOR  THE  SENATE.  279 

where  it  could  never  have  flourished  under  its  original  name.  Many 
who  were  the  followers  of  Mr.  Jefferson,  and  still  professed  his  doc- 
trine when  applied  to  the  alien  and  sedition  law,  adopted  the  Ameri- 
can system  in  all  its  parts.  Bank,  protective  tariff,  internal  improve- 
ment by  the  Federal  Government,  and  political  alliances  with  foreign 
republics — which  system  could  only  be  supported  by  the  same  doc- 
trine tbat  justified  those  obnoxious  laws. 

Mr.  Randolph  did  not  spare  those  men.  Neither  age  nor  sta- 
tion could  escape  his  burning  indignation.  He  knew  them  all — their 
history,  both  public  and  private — his  denunciations  were  often  bitter, 
personal,  and  sometimes  insulting. 

This  drew  upon  him  not  only  a  political,  but  a  rancorous  and  unre- 
lenting personal  opposition.  Old  reminiscences  were  revived,  and 
many  sought  to  wreak  their  vengeance  upon  him  for  wounds  inflict- 
ed in  days  long  gone  by  ;  instead  of  yielding  their  private  feelings  to 
the  public  good,  they  preferred  the  unholy  incense  of  personal  re- 
venge to  the  rich  oblation  of  a  self-sacrifice  on  the  altar  of  their 
country. 

But  Mr.  Randolph,  after  all,  could  not  be  defeated  without  taking- 
some  man  from  his  own  ranks,  who  could  carry  off  some  personal 
friends  to  his  support.  Mr.  Floyd,  Mr.  Giles,  and  others  of  the  Re- 
publican party,  were  spoken  of  as  his  competitors.  During  all  this 
excited  canvass,  in  which  so  much  personal  and  bitter  feeling  was  per- 
mitted to  enter,  Mr.  Randolph  remained  calm  and  unmoved.  New 
Year's  day  he  writes  to  his  friend,  Dr.  Brockenbrough : 

':  I  am  greatly  obliged  to  Mr.  May  and  my  other  friends  and  sup- 
porters ;  but  no  occasion  has  yet  presented  itself,  on  which  I  could, 
with  propriety,  have  said  any  thing  ;  and  to  be  making  one,  would,  I 
think,  be  unworthy  of  my  character  and  station.  The  fabrications 
of  my  enemies.  I  cannot  help.  I  can  only  say  that  there  exists 
not  the  slightest  foundation  for  them.  I  feel,  perhaps,  too  keenly  for 
the  state  of  the  country.  I  have  (as  who  has  not  ?)  my  own  private 
sorrows  ;  and  I  have  participated  in  the  deep  affliction  of  my  poor 
brother.  If  it  be  any  crime  to  be  grave.  I  plead  guilty  to  the  charge, 
but,  at  the  same  time,  thank  heaven  !  I  feel  myself  to  be  calm,  com- 
posed and  self-possessed.  To  pretend  indifference  to  the  approach- 
ing election,  would  be  the  height  of  affectation  and  falsehood — but.  go 
how  it  may.  I  trust  that  I  shall  bear  myself  under  success  or  defeat, 
in  a  manner  that  my  friends  will  not  disapprove.  I  have  ever  looked 
up  to  Virginia,  as  to  a  mother,  whose  rebukes  I  was  bound  to  receive 


280  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

with  filial  submission  ;  and  no  instance  of  her  displeasure,  however 
severe,  shall  ever  cause  me  to  lose  sight  of  my  duty  to  her," 

At  length  an  available  candidate  was  found  in  the  person  of  Mr. 
Tyler,  then  Governor  of  the  State. 

When  the  friends  of  Mr.  Randolph  learned  that  he  was  to  be  op- 
posed by  that  gentleman,  they  addressed  him  a  note,  the  18th  Janu- 
ary, 1827,  in  which  they  say — "  We  understand  that  the  friends  of 
the  Administration  and  others  will  support  you  for  the  Senate  in  op- 
position to  Mr.  Randolph.  We  desire  to  understand  destinctly, 
whether  they  have  your  consent  or  not." 

Mr.  Tyler  replied — "  My  political  opinions  on  the  fundamental 
principles  of  the  Government,  are  the  same  as  those  espoused  by  Mr. 
Randolph,  and  I  admire  him  most  highly,  for  his  undeviating  attach- 
ment to  the  Constitution,  manifested  at  all  times,  and  through  all  the 
events  of  a  long  political  life ;  and  if  any  man  votes  for  me  under  a 
different  persuasion,  he  most  grievously  deceives  himself.  You  ask 
me  whether  I  have  yielded  my  consent  to  oppose  him.  On  the  contrary, 
I  have  constantly  opposed  myself  to  all  solicitations."  Mr.  Tyler, 
however,  was  run  against  Mr.  Randolph,  and  was  successful  in  defeat- 
ing him.  With  what  magnanimity  Mr.  Randolph  bore  this  defeat, 
and  how  cheerfully  he  submitted  to  the  rebuke,  coming  from  his 
native  State — venerated  and  beloved,  with  all  her  unkindness,  maybe 
seen  from  the  following  letters,  addressed  to  Dr.  Brockenbrough,  that 
range  from  the  first  of  January,  to  the  close  of  Congress. 

Wednesday,  Jan.  3,  1827. 
Yesterday  I  had  the  gratification  of  seeing  my  old  friend  Mr. 
Macon  elected  to  the  Presidency  of  the  Senate.  He  had  not  a 
single  vote  to  spare.  I  apprehend  that  he  owed  his  election  chiefly 
to  the  absence  of  Chambers  of  Maryland,  who  had  gone  to  the  eastern 
shore,  and  who  arrived  from  Baltimore  not  ten  minutes  after  Mr.  M. 
had  taken  the  chair.  Mr.  Silsbee  of  Massachusetts  voted  for  him. 
So  did  Mr.  Noble  of  Indiana,  and  H.  of  Ohio.  The  other  vote,  I  con- 
jecture, was  given  by  Mr.  Mills,  for  one  of  our  side  (King)  was  also 
absent,  although  it  was  not  generally  known.  This  is  the  greatest 
and  almost  the  only  gratification  that  I  have  received  here.  It  was 
altogether  unexpected. 

Friday,  Jan.  5,  1827. 
I   write,  although  I  have  nothing  in  the  world  to  say.      Yester- 
day letters  were  received  stating  that  P.  P.  B.  would  receive  the  vote 
of  the  administration  men,  notwithstanding  his  refusal  to  be  nomina- 


HIS  DEFEAT  FOR  THE  SENATE.  281 

ted  by  them.  I  wish  with  all  my  heart  the  thing  was  decided  one 
way  or  other ;  although  I  am  sensible  that  the  precipitation  of  one  of 
my  friends  on  a  former  occasion  did  mischief.  I  have  neither  the 
right  nor  the  will  to  dictate,  but  to  you  (who  are  not  a  member)  I  can 
say  that  my  present  situation  is  far  from  being  agreeable.  General 
Smythe  has  not  at  all  disappointed  me — he  has  acted  magnanimously 
and  like  a  patriot.  I  looked  for  such  a  course  from  him — I  never 
had  a  feeling  of  enmity  against  him — nothing  ever  passed  between 
us,  beyond  a  single  spar. 

Sunday  morning,  Jan.  7,  1827. 

Mr.  Macon  is  highly  gratified  at  your  mention  of  him.  I  could 
not  resist  the  inclination  to  show  him  that  part  of  your  letter.  He  is 
to  me,  at  this  time,  a  treasure  above  all  price :  but  that  consideration 
apart,  he  richly  deserves  every  sentiment  of  respect  and  veneration 
that  can  be  felt  for  his  character. 

The  news  here  is  that  the  administration  folks  are  chuckling  at  the 
prospect  of  my  discomfiture.  They  are.  or  affect  to  be,  in  high  spir- 
its upon  that  subject.  It  must  be  confessed  that  my  situation  is 
awkward  enough. 

Monday  morning.  Jan.  8,  1827. 

Your  letters  and  Mr.  Macon's  society  are  my  greatest  resources 
against  the  miserable  life  we  lead  here.  Tazewell  tells  me  that  he  is 
well  convinced  that  the  article  in  question  was  written  here.  Mr. 
Macon,  who  reads  the  paper  to  his  daughter,  flung  it  into  the  fire 
with  great  indignation.  I  cannot  understand  Mr.  R.'s  reasons,  and 
therefore  they  cannot  be  satisfactory  to  me,  although  no  doubt  they 
are  perfectly  so  to  himself. 

Poor  old  S.  will.  I  think,  be  re-elected.  His  masters  have  shaken 
the  whip  over  him  to  secure  his  future  unconditional  obedience. 

This  morning  was  ushered  in  by  a  salute  of  cannon.  A  great 
dinner  is  to  be  eaten  in  honor  of  the  day.  Mr.  M.  and  I  foreswore 
public  dinners  ever  since  one  that  we  gave  Monroe  in  1803,  on  his 
departure  for  France.  Consequently,  neither  of  us  go.  The  day  is 
wet  and  dirty,  if  there  be  such  a  word,  and  we  shall  lose  nothing  by 
staying  at  home. 

I  should  like  very  well  to  see  the  antique  you  mention.  It  ought 
to  be  preserved  with  care.  How  little,  in  fact,  do  we  know  of  our 
early  history.  Perhaps  there  was  nothing  to  tell  ;  but  all  the  plan- 
tations seem  to  have  been  considered  as  a  terra  incognita  by  the 
mother  country.  I  am  sorry  for  what  you  mention  respecting  Mr. 
M.,  of  F  k.     But  it  can't  be  helped. 

Friday  morning,  Jan.  12,  1827. 
Another  mail,  and  no  letter  from  you.   I  can't  help  feeling  anxious 
and  uneasy. 


282  LIFE  °F  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

My  old  friend  is  a  good  deal  better ;  but  I,  after  many  days  of 
premonition,  from  pains  in  the  right  side,  &c.,  have  had  a  very  smart 
attack.  My  constitution  is  so  worn  out  that  it  can  resist  nothing, 
and  cannot  recover  itself  as  it  once  could.  It  seems  to  be  the  pre- 
vailing opinion  here  that  the  friends  of  the  powers  that  be  are  some- 
what despondent.  Pennsylvania  they  say  has  given  the  most  deci- 
sive indications  of  her  adherence  to  Jackson.  The  dinner,  although 
the  military  men  slunk  away  from  it,  was  attended  by  a  formidable 
array  of  adversaries. 

The  weather  is  excessively  gloomy,  and  sheds  its  malign  influence 
upon  my  spirits.  I  can't  read,  and  my  old  friend's  cough  is  excited 
by  talking;  so  we  sit,  and  look  at  the  fire  together,  and  once  in 
half  an  hour  some  remark  is  made  by  one  or  the  other. 

Saturday,  Jan.  13,  1827. 
Your  letter  of  Thursday  gives  me  much  relief,  although  it  con- 
tains intelligence  of  a  very  unpleasant  nature.  I  allude  to  the  publi- 
cation you  mention.  I  know  that  such  things — to  one  especially  not 
at  all  inured  to  them — are  most  unpleasant ;  but  I  trust  that  the  im- 
pudent excuse  of  the  printer  will  not  be  entirely  thrown  away,  for  it 
is  as  true  as  it  is  shameless.  My  good  friend,  I  have  long  been  of 
the  opinion,  that  we  are  fast  sinking  into  a  state  of  society  the  most 
loathsome  that  can  be  presented  to  the  imagination  of  an  honorable 
man.  Things,  bad  as  they  are,  have  not  yet  reached  the  lowest  deep. 
If  I  had  health  and  strength,  I  think  that  I  would  employ  a  portion 
of  them  in  an  inquiry  into  the  causes  that  propel  us  to  this  wretched 
state.  Why  is  it  that  our  system  has  a. uniform  tendency  to  bring 
forward  low  and  little  men,  to  the  exclusion  of  the  more  worthy?  I 
have  seen  the  operation  of  this  machine  from  the  beginning.  The 
character  of  every  branch  of  the  Government  has  degenerated.  In 
point  of  education  and  manners,  as  well  as  integrity,  there  has  been 
a  frightful  deterioration  every  where.  In  this  opinion  I  am  sup- 
ported by  the  experience  of  one  of  the  most  sagacious  and  observing 
men,  himself  contemporary  with  the  present  system  from  the  com- 
mencement. My  dear  friend,  I  cannot  express  to  you  the  thousandth 
part  of  the  disgust  and  chagrin  that  devour  me.  When  I  landed  at 
New- York  the  complexion  of  the  public  journals  made  me  blush  for 
the  country.  There  was  a  respectable  foreigner,  my  fellow-passen- 
ger, and  I  thought  I  could  see  the  dismay  which  he  attempted  to  con- 
ceal, at  certain  matters  that  passed,  as  things  of  course,  in  one  of  the 
first  boarding  houses  in  that  city.  To  me,  the  prospect  is  as  cheer- 
less and  desolate  as  Greenland.  Yourself,  and  one  or  two  others, 
separated  by  vast  distances  and  execrable  roads,  form  here  and  there, 
as  it  were,  an  oasis  in  the  Sahara.  My  soul  is  "  out  of  taste,"  as 
people  say  of  their  mouths  after  a  fever.  I  dream  of  the  snow-cap- 
ped Alps,  and  azure  lakes  and  waterfalls,  and  villages,  and  spires  of 


HIS  DEFEAT  FOR  THE  SENATE.  283 

Switzerland,  and  I  awake  to  a  scene  of  desolation  such  as  one  might 
look  to  find  in  Barbary  or  upper  Asia.  But  the  morale,  as  the 
French  would  say,  is  worse  than  the  physique  and  the  materiel.  I 
remember  well  when  a  member  of  Congress  was  respected  by  others 
and  by  himself.     But  I  cannot  pursue  this  theme. 

The  Government  is  as  you  describe  it  to  be.  They  have  nearly 
monopolized  the  press ;  and  if  the  opposition  prints  lend  themselves 
to  their  views  the  cause  is  hopeless.  However,  such  is  the  growing 
conviction  of  their  depravity,  that  I  believe  the  people  will  throw 
them  off  at  the  next  election.  I  shall  expect  your  letters,  of  course, 
with  eagerness.  Yours  truly.  J.  R.  of  R, 

Sunday  morning.  January  14.  1827. 

Your  letter  of  Friday  is  just  received.  The  artifices  resorted  to 
are  worthy  of  the  tools  of  such  an  administration  as  ours.  By  this 
time  to-morrow  I  shall  know  the  result.  Be  it  what  it  may,  it  will 
exercise  a  very  decisive  influence  over  what  may  remain  of  my  life  to 
come.  Success  I  know  cannot  elate  me,  and  I  hope  that  defeat  will 
not  depress  me :  but  I  have  taken  a  new  view  of  life,  of  public  life 
especially ;  and  if  I  am  not  a  wiser  and  a  better  man  for  my  last 
year's  experience,  you  may  pronounce  me  an  incorrigible,  irreclaim- 
able fool. 

Yesterday  Mr.  Chief  Justice  paid  me  a  very  friendly  visit.  His 
manner  said  more  than  his  words.  I  am  not  vain  but  proud  of  the 
distinguished  marks  of  regard  which  I  have  received  on  many  occa- 
sions from  this  truly  good  and  great  man.  Our  conversation  was 
interrupted  by  the  unexpected  and  undesired  visit  of  another  person. 

Yours  truly,  J.  R  of  R. 

Friday,  January  19  1827. 

Your  most  welcome  letter  of  Wednesday  is  just  now  received. 
Every  syllable  in  the  way  of  anecdote  is  gratifying  in  a  high  degree. 

My  first  impression  was  to  resign.  There  were,  notwithstanding, 
obvious  and  strong  objections  to  this  course  ;  my  duty  to  my  friends, 
the  giving  of  a  handle  to  the  charges  of  my  enemies  that  I  was  the 
slave  of  spleen  and  passion,  and  many  more  that  I  need  not  specify. 
There  was  but  one  other  course  left,  and  that  I  have  taken,  not  with- 
out the  decided  approbation  of  my  colleague,  and  many  other  friends 
here.  I  find,  too,  that  it  was  heartily  desired  by  my  enemies  that  I 
should  throw  up  my  seat.  They  even  propagated  a  report  on  Mon- 
day, that  I  had  done  so  in  a  rage,  and  left  the  city.  Numerous 
concurring  opinions  of  men  of  sense  and  judgment,  who  have  had  no 
opportunity  of  consulting  together,  have  reached  me.  that  fortify  me 
in  the  line  of  conduct  that  I  have  taken.  Nothing,  then,  remains  but 
a  calm  and  dignified  submission  to  the  disgrace  that  has  been  put 
upon  me  [his  ejection  from  the  Senate].  It  is  the  best  evidence  that 
I  can  give  my  friends  of  the  sense  which  I  feel,  and  will  for  ever 
cherish,  of  their  kind  and  generous  support.  J.  R.  of  R. 


284  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

Saturday,  January  20.  1827. 

"  Bore  me  ?"  Your  letter  has  become  more  necessary  to  me  than 
my  breakfast ;  and  it  is  almost  as  indispensable  for  me  to  say  a  few 
words  to  you  upon  paper,  as  soon  as  I  have  finished  it.  It  consists 
of  a  cup  of  tea  and  a  cracker,  without  butter,  which  I  never  touch. 
My  constitution  is  shaken ;  nerves  gone,  and  digestive  powers  almost 
extinct.  I  look  forward  to  hopeless  misery.  As  to  a  '•  firm  and  dig- 
nified" discharge  of  my  duty,  I  hope  that  I  shall  be  equal  to  it,  so  far 
as  attendance  and  voting  goes.  I  can't  go  farther,  because  I  am 
unable.  What  I  shall  do  with  myself  I  am  at  a  loss  to  conjecture. 
I  have  already  found  the  solitude  of  Roanoke  insupportable.  With 
worse  health,  and  no  better  spirits,  how  can  I  endure  it  ?  But  too 
much  of  this  egotism. 

I  would  give  not  a  little  to  know  the  reply  of  Mrs.  B.  to  the 
member  in  question.  The  tear  shed  by  her  eyes  for  my  defeat  is 
more  precious  in  my  own  than  the  pearl  of  Cleopatra.  I  beseech 
you  not  to  omit  writing  whenever  you  can.  I  require  all  the  time 
that  you  can  bestow  upon  me.     Except  Mr.  M.,  I  am  desolate. 

Sunday  morning,  February  11.  1827. 

I  have  not  written  as  usual,  because  I  almost  made  it  a  matter  of 
conscience  to  oppress  you  with  my  gloom.  I  have  never  been  more 
entirely  overwhelmed  with  bad  health  and  spirits.  I  look  forward 
without  hope,  and  almost  without  a  wish,  to  recover.  What  can  be 
more  cheerless  and  desolate  than  the  latter  days  that  are  left  to  me  ? 
I  am,  however,  relieved  from  one  apprehension — the  fear  of  surviving 
all  who  may  care  for  me.  I  feel  that  this  can  hardly  be,  for  without 
some  almost  miraculous  change  in  a  worn-out  constitution,  I  shall 
hardly  get  through  the  year.  The  thoughts  of  returning  here  tor- 
ment and  harass  me  by  day  and  by  night.  Little  do  you  even 
know  of  the  character  and  composition  of  the  House.  If  I  were  even 
able  to  exert  myself.  I  should  never  obtain  the  floor.  The  speech 
which  I  made  on  the  tariff  was  owing  to  a  waiving  of  the  right  of 
another  to  speak.  I  feel  that  my  public  life  ought  to  terminate  with 
this  session  of  Congress.  These  thoughts  are  for  you,  and  you  alone. 
I  have  risen  from  a  sleepless  bed  to  give  utterance  to  them. 

I  saw  the  V.  P.  yesterday.  He  is  in  good  spirits  ;  he  is  sustained 
by  a  powerful  passion.  For  my  part,  I  am  far  from  thinking  a  seat 
in  the  S.  very  desirable,  although,  certainly,  to  be  preferred  to  any 
other  position  in  this  Government.  If  I  could  have  done  it  with  pro- 
priety, I  should  not  have  hesitated  to  retire  voluntarily  from  mine. 

Wednesday,  Feb.  14,  1827. 

Yesterday  the  Senate  gave  no  equivocal  evidence  on  behalf  of 

the  woollen  bill  from  the  other  House.     Mv  colleague  is,  I  think, 

more  disgusted  and  wounded  than  I  am.     We  are  bound  hand  and 

foot,  and  the  knife  is  at  our  throat.     There  is  no  help  but  from  the 


HIS  DEFEAT  FOR  THE  SENATE.  285 

people  through  the  State  Legislatures.     We  are  sold  before  our  faces 
in  open  market. 

Thursday,  Feb.  15,  1827. 

The  V.  P.  has  pressed  me  very  warmly  to  take  a  seat  in  his  car- 
riage, which  will  travel  the  direct  road  by  Carter's  Ferry.  This  temp- 
tation is  a  very  strong  one  in  my  present  feeble  condition.  A  plea- 
sant companion,  easy  stages,  and  exemption  from  all  the  cares  of  a 
journey  that  will  bring  me  to  my  own  door.  But  then  I  shall  not 
see  you.  This  consideration  would  determine  me  to  forego  his  invita- 
tion if  I  could  see  you  and  one  or  two  others  without  bustle  in  a 
quiet  way.  But  I  take  it  that  the  close  of  a  session  of  Assembly  is 
(like  one  in  Congress)  as  the  last  days  of  a  long  voyage. 

Among  my  afflictions  and  privations,  I  cannot  read.  I  have  abso- 
lutely lost  all  taste  for  reading  of  every  sort,  except  the  letters  of  my 
friends.  Books,  once  a  necessary  of  life,  have  no  longer  a  single 
charm  for  me.  How  this  has  happened  I  know  not ;  but  it  is  so.  I 
should  not  talk  so  eternally  of  myself  if  I  felt  at  liberty  to  speak  of 
other  people  :  I  do  not  mean  in  the  way  of  censure,  but  in  any  way. 
I  think  I  see  a  great  deal  more  than  meets  the  usual  eye ;  but  then 
I  may  be  mistaken.  Of  one  thing  I  am  certain,  that  nothing  can 
surpass  the  disgust  of  my  colleague.  His  countenance  speaks  volumes. 
Indeed  I  cannot  blame  him.  I  know  that  there  is  nothing  in  this 
thing  that,  from  its  length,  seems  a  letter  ;  but  I  can't  help  it.  Adieu 
to  you  both. 

Saturday,  February  17,  1827. 

Your  last  was  dated  this  day  week.  Yesterday  we  had  no  mail 
in  consequence  of  the  storm  of  Thursday  That  storm  nearly  demo- 
lished me.  I  took  a  violent  cold  at  the  door  of  the  Senate  waiting 
until  two  hackney  coaches  could  disengage  themselves  from  a  jam. 
I  have  since  been  much  worse.     I  hope  to  get  a  line  from  you  to-day. 

I  mentioned  to  you  the  V.  P.'s  invitation  to  accompany  him.  You 
will  think  me  a  strange,  inconsistent  creature,  when  I  tell  you  that  I 
am  at  a  loss  what  to  do.  Home  I  must  go;  and  yet  for  me  home  has  no 
charms.  I  think  of  its  solitude,  which  I  can  no  longer  relieve  by 
field-sports,  or  books,  and  my  heart  dies  within  me.  Stretched  on  a 
sick-bed,  alone,  desolate,  cheerless.  I  must  devise  some  other  plan, 
and  I  want  to  see  you  and  consult  you  about  it.  You  see  what  little 
mercy  my  querulous  selfishness  has  upon  you. 

The  prospect  here  is  far  from  brightening.  I  know  others,  and 
abler  men  than  myself,  who  think  differently ;  but  they  take  counsel 
of  their  hopes  and  wishes.  I,  who  have  neither  to  bias  me,  can  see 
more  plainly,  with  weaker  vision.  Not  that  I  am  at  all  indifferent 
(far  from  it)  to  the  question  of  change  of  the  bad  and  corrupt  men  at 
the  head  of  our  affairs.     I  allude  to  wishes  of  a  different  sort. 

What  you  say  about  the  spirit  of  the  times  and  the  state  of  soci- 


285  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

ety,  has  "  often  and  over"  occurred  to  me.  I  want  to  be  at  rest ; 
with  Gray's  prophetess,  I  cry  out  "  leave  me,  leave  me  to  repose  !"  I 
am  almost  as  well  convinced  that  I  shall  not  live  twelve  months,  as 
twelve  times  twelve,  and  I  wish  to  die  in  peace.  My  best  love  to 
Mrs.  B.     God  bless  you  both,  my  dear  friends. 

Wednesday,  Feb.  21,  1827. 

I  have  omitted  for  some  days  to  bore  you  with  my  querulous 
notes,  because  I  knew  that  you  had  better  use  for  your  time  than  to 
read  them.  And  now,  that  I  have  taken  up  my  pen,  what  shall  ] 
say?  Still  harp  upon  the  old  string?  My  good  friend,  you  will,  I 
am  sure,  bear  with  my  foolishness.  I  am  incapable  of  business.^  I 
have  not  been  so  sensible  of  the  failure  of  my  bodily  powers  since 
1817,  when  you  saw  me  at  Mr.  Cunningham's  ;  and  in  my  dreary  and 
desolate  condition  I  naturally  turn  to  you. 

My  view  of  things  in  Richmond  coincided  with  your  own,  before 
I  knew  what  your  impressions  were.  I  think  that  I  shall  make  my 
escape,  with  the  V.  P.,  via  Cartersville.  It  is  the  very  road  that  I 
travelled  here,  and  is  the  obvious  way  back  again. 

I  shall  have  again  to  attend  a  six  hours'  sitting  to-day.  It  abso- 
lutely murders  me.  The  H.  of  R.  sat  late  last  night.  Mr.  Rives 
gained  great,  and  I  believe  deserved  praise.  Mr.  Archer  passed  a 
severe  rebuke  upon  one  of  his  colleagues  from  beyond  the  Blue 
Ridge,  who  spoke  very  irreverently,  'tis  said,  of  his  native  State. 

I  fear  that  when  we  do  meet,  I  shall  teaze  you  to  death  with  my 
egotism.  A  man  with  a  tooth-ache  thinks  only  of  his  fang.  I  am 
become  the  most  inert  and  indolent  of  creatures.  I  want  to  get  into 
port.  Nothing  would  suit  me  so  well  as  an  annuity,  and  nothing  to 
do.  You  see  how  selfish  I  am.  But  all  my  selfishness  vanishes  when 
I  think  of  you.     God  bless  you  both.     Adieu. 

Thursday,  Feb.  22,  1827. 
General  S.  Smith,  of  Maryland,  made  a  very  strong  speech  yes- 
terday on  the  colonial  trade  bill  and  the  report  accompanying  it.  He 
exposed,  without  reserve,  the  ignorance  and  incapacity  of  our  cabi- 
net, and  particularly  of  the  Secretary  of  State  ;  and  pointed  out 
many  manifest  errors  in  the  bill  and  report,  between  which  he  show- 
ed more  than  one  instance  of  discrepancy.  His  speech  was  so  much 
approved  that  a  subscription  for  its  publication  was  immediately  set 
on  foot  and  filled.  I  think  it  will  have  great  effect  on  the  public 
opinion.  I  listened  to  it  with  great  attention,  and  after  he  had  con- 
cluded, the  old  gentleman  came  and  thanked  me  for  it.  He  said  that 
my  occasional  nods  of  assent  to  what  he  said  was  a  great  support  to 
him,  and  enabled  him  to  get  through  with  what  he  had  to  say  with 
more  animation  and  effect  than  he  had  anticipated.  The  applause 
bestowed  upon  him  by  very  many  members  of  the  Senate,  seemed  to 
warm  the  old  man's  heart. 


HIS  DEFEAT  FOR  THE  SENATE.  287 

Friday,  Feb.  23,  1827. 
Yesterday  we  adjourned  much  earlier  than  usual,  on  the  motion 
of  Mr.  Johnson,  of  Louisiana,  who  means  to  inflict  upon  us  a  speech 
of  unconscionable  length,  if  I  am  to  judge  from  the  apparatus  of 
notes  and  books  which  he  has  collected.  It  will,  no  doubt,  receive 
contribution  from  the  S  of  S.  It  is  strange  that  the  administration 
should  be  reduced  to  rely  upon  so  feeble  and  confused  an  understand- 
ing as  that  of  J.,  whom  no  one  can  listen  to,  and  who  is  unanswera- 
ble because  he  is  unintelligible.  His  friend  and  patron  passes  my 
window  every  morning,  arm  in  arm  with  M.  C.:s,  whom  he  ap- 
pears to  be  vainly  engaged  in  drilling.  My  good  friend,  politics  re- 
mind me  of  Goldsmith's  character  of  a  schoolmaster — any  other  em- 
ployment seems  '-genteel'  in  comparison  to  it. 

Saturday.  Feb.  24,  1827. 

Your  letter  of  Thursday  and  the  Enquirer  of  the  same  date  are  just 
now  brought  in.  I  am  truly  sensible  of  the  kind  partiality  of  my 
friends,  but  I  feel  that  my  career  is  drawing  to  a  close.  My  system 
is  undermined  and  gone,  and  a  few  months  must.  I  should  think  (and 
almost  hope)  put  an  end  to  my  sufferings.  God  only  knows  what 
they  have  been.  I  think  it  probable  that  I  shall  take  the  steamboat 
to  Kichmond ;  in  which  case  I  shall  have  the  pleasure  to  see  you 
once  more.  I  don't  like  to  hear  of  your  being  ••  unwell."  and  hope 
that  the  approaching  adjournment  of  the  Assembly  will  relieve  you 
from  your  harassing  employment  at  the  Bank. 

I  have  lain  all  night  listening  to  the  rain.  I  have  not  passed  one 
quite  so  bad  this  winter.  I  shall,  nevertheless,  go  to  the  Senate,  for 
I  have  made  it  a  point  not  to  miss  a  vote.  I  tasked  myself  beyond 
my  strength  in  retaining  my  seat,  and  am  by  no  means  quite  satis- 
fied that  1  took  the  right  course  in  that  matter.  It  is  not  now,  how- 
ever, to  be  remedied. 

Many  thanks  for  your  news  of  my  niece.  God  bless  her !  I 
wrote  to  her  the  day  before  yesterday. 

We  had  yesterday  a  confused  jumble  of  two  and  a  half  hours  from 
J.,  of  L.  But  I  have  no  doubt  that  the  best  face  that  the  adminis- 
tration can  put  on  the  matter  will  appear  in  print.  The  chairman  of 
foreign  relations  has  been  weighed  and  found  wanting.  The  man  has 
not  a  shadow  of  pretension  to  ability  or  information.     Adieu. 

Sunday,  Feb.  25.  1827. 
My  lamentations  must,  I  am  sure,  weary  you,  and  not  a  little. 
Like  Dogberry.  I  bestow  all  my  tediousness  upon  you.  I  have  had 
another  bad  night.  Not  so  bad  however  as  the  preceding  one.  But 
I  am  in  a  state  of  utter  atony.  1  think  that  you  medical  men  have 
such  a  term.  I  have  lost  all  relish  for  every  thing,  and  would  will- 
ingly purchase  exemption  from  all  exertion  of  body  and  mind  at 


288  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

almost  any  price.  My  old  friend,  Mr.  M.,  remarks  my  faint  and  lan- 
guid aspect,  but  even  lie  little  knows  of  what  is  passing  within.  If 
change  of  scene  brings  no  relief,  and  I  have  little  hope  that  it  will, 
I  cannot  long  hold  out  under  it ;  and  why  do  I  reiterate  this  to  you? 
Because  I  have  no  one  else  to  tell  it  to,  and  out  of  the  fulness  of  the 
heart  the  mouth  speaketh.  I  can  no  longer  imagine  any  state  of 
things  under  which  I  should  not  be  wretched.  I  mean  a  possible 
state.  I  am  unable  to  enter  into  the  conceptions  and  views  of  those 
around  me.  They  talk  to  me  of  grave  matters,  and  I  see  children 
blowing  bubbles. 

Monday  morning,  Feb.  26, 1827. 

Your  letter  of  Friday,  which  ought  to  have  arrived  yesterday 
morning,  came  in  with  the  northern  mail.  No  two  instruments  of 
music  ever  accorded  more  exactly  than  our  opinions  do,  concerning 
public  men  and  measures.  I  am  heartily  sick  of  both,  and  only  wish 
to  find  some  resting-place,  where  I  may  die  in  peace.  I  saw  a  letter 
from  Crawford  to  Mr.  M.,  a  day  or  two  ago,  that  affected  me  most 
deeply.  Nothing  can  be  more  simple  and  touching  than  the  manner 
in  which  he  speaks  of  himself  and  his  affairs.  What  a  fate  his  has 
been  ! 

I  agree  with  you,  about  the  great  man  of  Richmond.  His  an- 
tagonist I  know  well.  He  is  a  frog  at  the  utmost  degree  of  disten- 
tion. How  I  shall  get  home  I  can't  yet  tell.  My  helplessness  is  in- 
conceivable I  want  a  dry  nurse — somebody  to  pick  me  up  and  take 
me  away.  I  have  passed  another  horrid  night.  Garnett  writes  me 
that  he  obtained  relief  from  Dr.  Watson,  during  his  late  visit  to  Rich- 
mond. There  is  some  talk  of  a  fight  in  the  other  House,  but  I  con- 
jecture that  it  will  end  in  smoke.     I  listen,  but  say  nothing. 

Your  letter  of  Saturday,  and  the  Enquirer  of  Wednesday,  are  just 
now  put  into  my  hands.  "  Old  Prince  Edward  has  come  out  man- 
fully" indeed  ;  and  if  any  thing  could  exhilarate  me,  it  would  be  such 
a  manifestation  of  the  confidence  of  those  who  know  me  best ;  but  to 
the  dead  fibre  all  applications  are  vain. 

Senate,  Thursday,  March  1,  1827. 

I  can  only  thank  you  'for  your  letter  of  Tuesday.  We  meet  at 
ten  ;  and  yesterday  we  adjourned  at  the  same  hour.  It  almost  killed 
me,  and  has  worsted  my  old  friend,  Mr.  M.,  a  good  deal.  In  common 
with  all  the  honest  and  sagacious  men  here,  he  partakes  of  the  gen- 
eral disgust ;  and  I  think  it  not  at  all  unlikely  that  he  will  throw  up 
his  commission  before  the  next  winter.  S.  of  S.  C,  one  of  the  most 
sterling  characters,  and  of  untiring  zeal  and  labor  hitherto,  begins 
also  to  despond,  seeing,  as  he  does,  that  the  administration  is  more 
effectually  served  by  its  professed  opponents  than  by  its  friends. 
They  are  utterly  insufficient.     This  is  for  you  only. 

This  is  probably  the  last  note  that  you  will  receive  from  me  until 


ELECTION  TO  THE  HOUSE  OF  REPRESENTATIVES.      289 

we  meet.  You  must  be  prepared  for  a  great  change  in  me — greater 
in  temper,  &c,  than  in  health.  You  both,  I  know,  will  put  up  with 
my  tediousness.  I  feel  that  I  am  becoming  a  burthen  to  others,  as 
well  as  to  myself,  and  the  thought  depresses  me  not  a  little.  "  Time 
and  the  hour  run  through  the  longest  day."  What  a  fate  ours  would 
have  been  if  we  had  been  condemned  to  immortality  here. 

Saturday,  March  3,  1827. 
We  sat  until  after  two  this  morning.  The  House  of  Representa- 
tives, by  a  very  thin  vote,  adhered  to  their  amendment  to  the  Colo- 
nial Bill.  Had  it  been  put  off  until  to-day,  it  would  not  have  been 
done.  We  shall,  I  take  it  for  granted,  also  adhere,  and  so  the  bill 
will  be  lost.  I  have  made  my  arrangements  to  go  in  the  Potomac 
to-morrow,  at  9  o'clock.  When  I  consider,  that  at  this  session  the 
Bankrupt  Bill,  the  Woollen  Bill,  the  Naval  School,  and  two  Dry  Docks, 
and  the  Colonial  Bill,  have  all  failed,  I  am  of  opinion  that  (as  we  say 
in  Virginia)  we  have  made  a  "  great  break."  In  fact,  the  administra- 
tion have  succeeded  in  no  one  measure.     - 


CHAPTEE   XXXV. 

ELECTION   TO   THE   HOUSE   OF   REPRESENTATIVES. 

So  soon  as  it  was  known  in  Washington  that  Mr.  Randolph  had 
been  defeated  for  the  Senate,  Dr.  G-eorge  W.  Crump,  who  repre- 
sented his  district,  published  a  letter  to  his  constituents,  declining  a 
re-election,  and  united  with  Mr.  Randolph's  other  friends,  in  an- 
nouncing him  as  a  candidate  for  Congress. 

The  legislature  was  still  in  session,  as  he  passed  through  Rich- 
mond. His  friends  in  that  body  invited  him,  as  a  token  of  their  re- 
spect, to  partake  of  a  public  dinner.  He  said,  in  reply : — "  The  fee- 
bleness of  my  health  admonishes  me  of  the  imprudence  I  commit  in 
accepting  your  very  kind  and  flattering  invitation,  but  I  am  unable 
to  practise  the  self-denial  which  prudence  would  impose.  I  have 
only  to  offer  my  profound  acknowledgment,  for  an  honor  to  which  I 
am  sensible  of  no  claim  on  my  part,  except  the  singleness  of  purpose 
with  which  I  have  endeavored  to  uphold  our  common  principles,  never 
more  insidiously  and  vigorously  assailed  than  now,  and  never  more 

VOL.    II.  13 


290  LIFE  0F  J0HN  RANDOLPH. 

resolutely  defended  and  asserted."  To  a  complimentary  toast,  call- 
ing him  "  the  constant  defender  of  the  principles  of  the  Constitution, 
the  fearless  opponent  of  a  mischievous  administration,"  he  made  a 
very  hrief  hut  appropriate  answer — "  He  knew  that  of  late  years  it 
had  become  a  practice,  that  the  person  thus  selected  as  the  object  of 
distinction  and  hospitality,  should  make  his  acknowledgments  in  a 
set  speech  ;  but  as  a  plain  and  old-fashioned  Virginian,  it  was,  he  must 
be  permitted  to  say,  a  custom  more  honored  in  the  breach  than  the 
observance.  He  felt  assured  that  no  declaration  of  his  principles  was 
called  for  on  the  occasion.  It  would,  indeed,  be  too  severe  a  tax  upon 
the  courtesy  of  that  intelligent  auditory,  for  him  to  attempt  to  gloss 
over  what  he  had  done  or  omitted  to  do.  He  did  not  expect  them  to 
judge  of  those  principles  from  any  declarations  that  he  might  see  fit 
to  make,  instead  of  inferring  them  from  the  acts  of  his  public  life, 
which  had  commenced  in  the  last  century,  and  had  terminated  but  a 
few  days  ago."  Mr.  Randolph  received  several  similar  invitations 
from  his  old  constituents,  but  he  was  constrained  to  decline  them  all. 
He  expressed  his  regret  at  being  unable  to  partake  of  the  hospitality 
and  festivity  of  his  friends,  "  to  whom,"  says  he,  "  I  am  bound  by 
every  tie  that  can  unite  me  to  the  kindest  and  most  indulgent  con- 
stituents that  ever  man  had." 

It  is  almost  needless  to  say,  that  at  the  April  elections  he  was 
returned  to  Congress  by  his  old  constituents,  without  opposition. 
The  summer  was  spent  in  his  accustomed  solitude  at  Roanoke ;  and 
as  to  the  thoughts  and  feelings  that  occupied  and  harassed  him  during 
that  monotonous  period,  we  leave  him  to  speak  for  himself,  in  the  fol- 
lowing letters  to  his  friend,  Dr.  Brockenbrough  : 

Roanoke,  March  30,  1827  ;  Friday. 

My  dear  Friend — My  worst  anticipations  have  been  realized. 
I  got  home  on  the  22d  (Thursday),  and  since  then  I  have  scarcely 
been  off  my  bed  except  when  I  was  in  it.  My  cough  has  increased 
very  much,  and  my  fever  never  intermits  :  with  this,  pain  in  the  treast 
and  all  the  attendant  ills.  Meanwhile  I  am,  with  the  exception  of 
my  servants,  as  if  on  a  desert  island.  I  feel  that  my  doom  is  sealed, 
as  it  regards  this  life  at  least.  I  do  not  want  to  distress  you,  or  to 
make  you  gloomy  ;  but  you  had  a  right  to  know  the  truth,  and  I  have 
told  it  to  you. 

My  best  regards  to  Mrs.  B.  Write  to  me  when  you  have  nothing 
better  to  do.  I  shall  be  detained  here  all  the  summer,  if  I  last  as 
long.  Like  other  spendthrifts,  I  have  squandered  my  resources,  and 
am  pennyless. 


ELECTION  TO  THE  HOUSE  OF  REPRESENTATIVES.       291 

Roanoke    May  loth,  1827  ;  Tuesday. 

Your  letter  gives  me  much  concern.  These  sudden  and  repeated 
attacks  alarm  me.  Pray  do  not  fail  to  write  and  let  me  know  how 
you  are.  I  would  readily  embrace  Mrs.  B.'s  kind  invitation  (God 
bless  her  for  it)  ;  but.  my  good  friend,  I  am  untit  for  society.  Mj 
health  is  better — more  so  in  appearance  than  in  reality ;  but  my  spi- 
rits are  (if  any  thing)  worse  In  other  words,  a  total  change  has 
been  effected  in  my  views  and  feelings,  and  nothing  can  ever  restore 
the  slightest  relish  for  the  world  and  its  affairs.  If  property  in  this 
country  gave  its  possessor  the  command  of  money.  I  would  go  abroad 
immediately.  But  I  feel  that  I  am  fixed  here  for  life.  I  am  sensibly 
touched  by  the  kind  interest  expressed  for  my  welfare  by  the  Wick- 
hams  (and  others).  Make  my  best  acknowledgments  to  them.  Yester- 
day I  received  a  present  offish  from  a  man  whom  I  hardly  know,  who 
sent  it  eight  miles.  On  Saturday,  for  the  first  time.  I  made  an  essay 
towards  riding,  and  got  as  far  as  Mrs.  Daniel's,  who.  I  heard,  was 
very  unwell.  I  repeated  the  experiment  on  Sunday  ;  but  yesterday 
was  cold  and  cloudy,  and  the  rain.  I  am  persuaded,  saved  us  last  night 
from  another  frost. 

By  this  time,  I  conjecture  that  my  niece  is  in  Richmond.  Give 
her  my  best  love,  and  Mrs.  B.  and  Mary  also.  Remember  me  most 
kindly  to  Leigh,  Stevenson,  and  all  who  ask  after  me 

Reading  over  what  I  have  written.  I  find  that  I  have  expressed 
myself  unhappily,  not  to  say  ungraciously,  on  the  subject  of  Mrs  B.'s 
invitation.  "What  I  meaut  was,  that  I  could  not  be  in  Richmond 
without  being  thrown  into  society.  It  is  inexpressibly  fatiguing  and 
irksome  to  me  to  keep  up  those  forms  of  intercourse  which  usage  has 
rendered  indispensable.  He  who  violates  them  deserves  to  be  kicked 
out  of  company.  This  is  one  among  many  reasons  why  I  like  to  go 
abroad.     You  may  ask 

patria  qui  exsul 
Sequoque  fugit  1 

but  I  have  no  such  vain  expectation. 

Five,  P.  M. — Since  writing  the  above  I  have  felt  so  peculiarly 
desolate  and  forlorn,  that  I  would  be  glad  to  transport  myself  any 
where  from  this  place.  For  some  days  this  feeling  has  been  gaining 
the  mastery  over  me.  What  wouldn't  I  give  to  be  with  you  at  this 
moment,  or  to  see  you  drive  up  to  my  door  !  The  pain  in  my  right 
side  and  shoulder  has  increased,  and  that,  no  doubt,  occasions,  in  part 
at  least,  my  wretched  sensations.  To-morrow  will  bring  but  the  same 
joyless  repetition  of  the  same  dull  scene. 

Roanoke.  May  22,  1827  ;  Tuesday. 
Your  last  (14th)  gives  me  considerable  relief  on  the  subject  of 
your  health.     Now  that  you  have   hit  upon  the  remedy.   I  hope  to 
hear  no  more  of  your  spasmodic  paroxysms.     I  have  followed  your 


292  LIFE  0F  J0HN  RANDOLPH. 

advice  with  sensible  benefit ;  but  nothing  seems  to  relieve  the  anxiety, 
distress,  and  languor  to  which  I  am  by  turns  subjected,  or  the  pains, 
rheumatic  or  gouty,  that  are  continually  flying  about  me. 

I  have  passed  a  wretched  week  since  my  last.  Why  my  letters 
are  so  long  getting  to  hand,  I  cannot  tell — perhaps  it  would  be  well 
for  you  if  they  should  miscarry  altogether,  for  they  are  little  else 
besides  lamentations.  I  cannot  express  to  you  the  horror  I  feel  at 
the  idea  of  a  winter  in  Washington.  I  have  used  a  very  improper 
word,  for  it  is  a  feeling  of  loathing,  of  unutterable  disgust.  I  am  (of 
course)  obliged  to  "  every  body"  for  their  incpiiries  and  "  apparent 
concern"  respecting  my  health ;  but  there  are  some  individuals 
towards  whom  I  entertain  a  warmer  feeling,  and  I  beg  you  to  express 
it  for  me  to  Leigh,  the  Wickhams,  and  others  whom  I  need  not 
name,  although  I  will  name  Mr.  and  Mrs.  T.  Taylor. 

Whichever  way  I  look  around  me,  I  see  no  cheering  object  in 
view.  All  is  dark,  and  comfortless,  and  hopeless  :  for  I  cannot  dis- 
guise from  myself,  that  the  state  of  society  and  manners  is  daily  and 
not  slowly  changing  for  the  worse.  After  making  every  allowance 
for  the  gloom  of  age  and  disease,  there  are  indications  not  to  be  mis- 
taken of  general  deterioration.  If  I  survive  this  winter  I  must  try 
and  hit  upon  some  plan  of  relief,  for  I  would  not  spend  another  year 
1827  for  any  imaginable  earthly  consideration.  This  is  not  a  bull, 
although  it  may  look  like  one. 

I  have  some  conveniences  here  (not  to  say  comforts)  that  I  can- 
not always  meet  with  from  home ;  and  this  consideration,  and  the 
vis  inertice  which  grows  daily  stronger,  have  detained  me  here,  where 
I  vegetate  like  the  trees  around  me.  Give  my  best  love  to  Mrs.  B., 
and  Mary.     I  most  heartily  wish  that  I  could  see  you  all. 

Roanoke,  Tuesday,  June  12,  1827. 

Your  letter  of  the  5th  was  received  last  night.  When  I  wrote 
that  to  which  you  refer,  I  had  not  received  Mr.  Chiles's  and  Mr. 
Allen's,  with  your  P.  S.  They  came  about  a  week  afterwards.  I 
wrote  you  a  few  hardly  legible  lines  on  Friday  evening.  The  next 
morning  I  got  into  my  chair  and  drove  to  W.  Leigh's,  whence  I  re- 
turned yesterday.  I  would  have  stayed  longer,  but  there  were  young 
people  in  the  house,  and  I  felt  as  if  I  was  a  damper  upon  their  cheer- 
fulness.    Luckily  I  had  a  cool  morning  for  my  return  home. 

I  have  had  a  visit  from  a  Stouldburg — old  Mr.  Archibald  B.  It 
almost  made  me  resolve  never  to  leave  my  own  plantation  again. 
I  hardly  think  that  I  shall  go  to  the  Springs.  I  have  a  decided 
aversion  to  mixing  with  mankind,  especially  where  I  am  known.  I 
have  been  obliged  to  give  up  riding  on  horseback  altogether.  It 
crucified  me,  and  I  did  not  get  over  a  ride  of  two  miles  in  the  course 
of  the  whole  day.  I  will  stay  at  home,  and  take  your  prescription. 
I  wish  I  could  see  your  Dr.  Johnston's  book.     There  are  other  rea- 


ELECTION  TO  THE  HOUSE  OF  REPRESENTATIVES.      293 

sons  why  I  should  stay  at  home  :  I  have  no  clothes,  and  no  money. 
In  fact,  I  never  was  in  so  abject  a  state  of  misery  and  poverty  since 
I  was  born.  They  who  complain  are  never  pitied.  But  I  have  so  true 
a  judgment  of  the  value  of  this  world  and  its  contents,  that  I  would 
not  give  the  strength  and  health  of  one  of  my  negro  men  for  the  wis- 
dom of  Solomon,  and  the  wealth  of  Croesus,  and  the  power  of  Caesar. 

"  Though  Solomon,  with  a  thousand  wives, 
To  get  a  wise  successor  strives, 
But  one,  and  he  a  fool,  survives." 

So  much  for  the  pleasure  of  offspring. 

My  best  love  to  Mrs.  B.  and  Mary,  and  to  my  niece,  who  is  with 
you,  I  hope.  Tell  her  that  I  got  her  two  last  letters  a  great  while 
after  they  were  written;  and  that  I  should  have  written  in  return,  but 
that  I  was  never  in  a  frame  of  mind  for  it.  My  life  is  spent  in  pain 
and  sorrow.  "  We  passed  in  maddening  pain  life's  feverish  dream," 
was  said  of  poor  Collins.  It  is  almost  true  of  me.  I  have  a  thousand 
things  to  attend  to,  many  duties  to  perform,  and  all  are  neglected. 
I  know  and  feel  that  I  am  incurring  an  awful  responsibility,  but 
that  only  serves  to  add  to  the  miseries  of  the  day  and  night. 

Roanoke,  September  4,  1827. 

I  certainly  took  it  for  granted  that  you  were  at  the  Springs,  or  I 
should  have  written,  although  I  have  been  particularly  unwell  of 
late,  and  have  had  a  great  deal  of  company,  most  of  which  I  could 
have  gladly  dispensed  with.  Indeed,  I  have  more  than  once  regret- 
ted that  not  at  home  was  inadmissible  in  the  country.  At  this  time 
I  am  laboring  under  a  sharp  attack  of  bile,  and  am  hardly  able  to 
direct  my  pen.  All  those  symptoms  of  anxiety,  distress,  &c,  I  need 
not  recapitulate  to  you.  I  had  anticipated  your  caution  respecting 
wine,  but  am  not  the  less  thankful  for  it.  Kidder  R.  was  here,  and 
had  no  one  to  join  him  in  a  glass  of  claret,  so  that,  as  Burns  says,  I 
helped  him  to  a  slice  of  my  constitution,  although  my  potation  was 
very  moderate.  If  people  would  not  harass  me  with  their  unmean- 
ing visits  I  should  do  much  better. 

Roanoke,  Nov.  6, 1827 ;   Tuesday. 

I  write  because  you  request  it.  I  got  home  on  Friday  evening 
(the  2d),  and  Sam  and  the  wagons  arrived  here  next  night.  This 
morning  I  received  your  letter  of  the  1st,  Thursday.  In  answer  to 
your  inquiry,  I  am  worse,  decidedly  worse  than  when  I  wrote  from 
Amelia.  I  wrote  you  a  long  letter  from  thence,  which  I  afterwards 
threw  into  the  fire — and  like  it,  I  am  withering,  consuming  away.  I 
will  try  and  see  you  if  I  can,  on  my  way  to  W.  Nothing  but  the  circum- 
stance attending  my  election,  prevents  an  immediate  resignation  of 
my  seat.  My  good  friend,  I  can't  convey  to  you — language  can't  ex- 
press— the  thousandth  part  of  the  misery  I  feel. 

I  found  a  long  letter  from  you,  at  Charl.   C.   H.     You  say  that 


294  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

"  without  something  of  the  sort  (cotton  spinning).  Richmond  is  done 
over."  My  dear  friend,  she  is  "  done  over,"  and  past  recovery.  She 
wears  the  fades  Hippocratica.  That  is  not  the  worst — the  country  is 
also  ruined — past  redemption,  body  and  soul — soil  and  mind. 

My  friend,  Mr.  Barksdale,  has  resolved  to  sell  out  and  leave 
Amelia.  He  is  right,  and  would  be  so,  were  he  to  give  his  establish- 
ment there  away.  If  I  live  through  the  coming  year,  I  too,  will  break 
my  fetters.  He  was  almost  my  only  resource.  They  have  dried  up,  one 
by  one,  and  I  am  left  in  the  desert  alone. 

Mrs.  B.  "wants  to  see  me" — God  bless  her.  When  I  come,  you 
must  hide  me.    I  can  write  no  more,  even  of  this  nonsense.     Farewell. 

Washington,  Dec.  15,  1827  ;  Saturday. 

I  confess  that  I  have  been  disappointed,  nay  almost  hurt,  at 
not  hearing  from  you.  My  good  friend,  I  am  sore  and  crippled, 
mind  and  body — and  I  might  add  estate.  These,  according  to  the 
Liturgy,  embrace  all  the  concerns  of  man,  but  there  is  another  branch 
in  which  I  am  utterly  bankrupt. 

You  say  that  you  have  nothing  to  communicate,  and  yet  Steven- 
son tells  me  that  tlie  election  made  a  great  sensation  with  you 

Quant  a  mat.  I  am  dying  as  decently  as  I  can.  For  three  days 
past,  I  have  rode  out,  and  people  who  would  not  care  one  groat,  if  I  died 
to-night — are  glad  that  I  am  so  much  better,  &c.  &c  ,  with  all  that 
wretched  grimace  that  grown-up  makers  of  faces  call,  and  believe  to 
be,  politeness,  good-breeding,  &c.  I  had  rather  see  the  children  or 
monkeys  mow  and  chatter. 

My  diet  is  strict.  Flesh  once  a  day  (mutton,  boiled  or  roasted), 
a  cracker  and  cup  of  coffee,  morning  and  night,  no  drink  but  toast 
water.  But  it  will  not  do.  For  the  first  time  in  my  life,  I  now  be- 
gin to  drink  in  the  night,  and  copiously.  I  would  give  fifty  pounds 
if  no  one  would  ask  me  again,  "  how  I  do  ?" 

Mr.  Macon,  who  was  strictly  neutral  last  year,  is  now  decided  for 
Jackson.  Perhaps  this  may  give  some  relief  to  our  friend,  Christo- 
pher Quandary.  From  some  Fauquier  and  other  symptoms,  I  fear 
that  the  Chief  J.  is  cpuandaryish  too. 

Tazewell  talks  of  going  home,  and  has  asked  me  to  go  with  him.  If 
I  could  bear  the  beastly  abominations  of  a  steamboat,  I  would  do  it. 
for  here  I  cannot  stay.  Mr.  M.  recruited  very  much  after  his  arrival, 
but  within  a  few  days  he  has  been  complaining,  and  in  very  bad  spirits. 
The  fact  is,  that  his  grand-children  torture  my  old  friend  almost  to 
death.  I  bless  God  that  I  have  none.  Of  all  the  follies  that  man  is 
prone  to,  that  of  thinking  that  he  can  regulate  the  conduct  of  others. 
is  the  most  inveterate  and  preposterous.  Mr.  Macon  has  no  such  weak- 
ness ;  but  the  aberrations  of  his  descendants  crucify  him.  What  has 
become  of  all  the  countless  generations  that  have  preceded  us?  Just 
what  will  become  of  us,  and  of  our  successors.     Each  will  follow  the 


ELECTION  TO  THE  HOUSE  OF  REPRESENTATIVES.       295 

devices  and  desires  of  its  own  heart,  and  very  reasonably  expect  that 
its  descendants  will  not,  but  will  do,  like  good  boys  and  girls,  as  they 
are  bid.  And  so  the  papas  and  mammas,  and  grand-papas  and  grand- 
mammas flatter  themselves — utterly  regardless  of  their  own  contuma- 
cy. If  ever  I  undertake  to  educate,  or  regulate  any  thing,  it  shall  be 
a  thing  that  cannot  talk.  I  have  been  a  Quixotte  in  this  matter,  and 
well  have  I  been  rewarded — as  well  as  the  woful  Knight  in  the  Galley 
slaves  in  the  Brown  mountain. 

Washington,  Friday,  Dec.  21,  1827. 

At  last  I  have  a  letter  from  you.  Your  epistles  are  like  angels' 
visits,  ■•  short  and  far  between."  I  have  one  too  from  the  Chief  Jus- 
tice, whom  Mrs.  B.  will  smile  to  hear  me  describe  as  one  of  the 
best-bred  men  alive.  I  sent  him  the  King's  speech  and  documents, 
and  here  in  return  is  a  letter  that  I  would  not  exchange  for  a  Diploma 
from  any  one  of  our  Universities. 

Nothing  was  further  from  my  intention  than  to  touch  any  nerve 
in  Watkins,  &c,  when  I  mentioned  his  having  written  a  book.  At 
that  time,  I  thought  C.  Q.  was  ascribed  to  Garnett.  I  referred  to. 
his  publications  some  years  ago  against  Jackson.  Do  you  remember 
that  Dr.  Johnson,  who  hardly  rose  to  the  dignity  and  polish  of  a  bear, 
told  Boswell  that  he  thought  himself  a  very  well-bred  man  ?  Now, 
I  thought  that  I  rallied  our  friend  that  night,  with  playful  good  hu- 
mor, incapable  of  wounding  even  as  sensitive  a  person  as  he  on  that 
occasion  seemed  to  be. 

Although  I  rode  out  on  Wednesday,  I  am  no  better.  Yesterday 
the  atmosphere  was  loaded  with  rlieum,  and  to-day  it  is  hardly  better. 
The  first  good  spell  of  weather  that  seems  settled,  I  shall  leave  this 
place,  pour  jamais.  I  have  yet  some  confidence  left  in  mankind,  and 
much  in  my  constituents.  Now,  let  me  beg  you  not  to  mention  this 
to  any  one.  I  have  heard  of  my  conversation  with  W.  L.  at  your 
house  with  alterations,  I  can't  say  with  emendations.  How  every 
idle  word  I  utter  flies  abroad  upon  the  wings  of  the  wind,  I  know  not. 
I  could  not  help  smiling  at  the  version  given  of  my  retort,  that  ';  J. 
could  not  write  because  he  had  never  been  taught,  and  Adams  be- 
cause he  was  not  teachable  " — the  two  last  words  were  changed  into 
"  a  man  of  abilities."  This  is  like  the  National  Intelligencer's  re- 
ports of  me. 

I  am  sensible  that  these  effusions  of  querulous  egotism  can  have 
no  value  in  your  eyes.     I  will  therefore  try  something  else. 

Mr.  Barbour's  motion  is,  to  say  the  least  of  it.  ill-timed.  I  be- 
lieve that  he  consulted  no  one  about  it.  Our  play  is  to  win  the  game ; 
to  keep  every  thing  quiet ;  to  give  no  handle  for  alarm,  real  or  pre- 
tended ;  to  finish  the  indispensable  public  business,  and  to  go  home. 

As  you  make  no  mention  of  Mrs.  B.  or  of  Mary,  I  conclude  that 
they  are  both  well.     My  love  to  them  both.     I  have  been  not  a  little 


296  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

amused  with  hearing  a  gentleman  describe  the  artful  and  assiduous, 
and  invidious  court  paid  to  a  certain  lady,  the  year  before  last,  at  the 
Springs,  by  a  certain  great,  very  great  man.  I  now  understand  why 
she  introduced  the  subject  of  General  Jackson  to  me  of  all  the  peo- 
ple in  the  world,  when  I  last  saw  her — the  only  instance  of  want 
of  good  taste  that  I  ever  remarked  in  that  lady.  Quant  a  moi,  I 
was  (as  became  me)  mute  as  a  fish. 

I  agree  that  it  is  a  serious  objection  to  any  man  that  he  has  such 
a  hanger-on  as  C.  B.  But  when  I  am  determined  upon  turning  off  a 
very  bad  overseer,  I  shall  not  be  deterred,  because  I  can't  get  exactly 
him  whom  I  would  prefer.  This  squeamishness  does,  for  girls,  but 
with  men,  you  must  act  as  a  man  upon  what  is,  and  not  upon  what 
ought  to  be.  I  have  seen  no  man  but  Genl.  W.,  and  there  were 
strong  objections  to  him,  that  I  think  fit  for  the  office. 

Washington,  Saturday,  Dec.  22,  1827. 

My  cough  and  pain  in  the  breast  are  both  much  worse,  owing  to  my 
being  a  few  minutes  in  the  House  yesterday,  from  which  I  was  speed- 
ily driven  by  the  atmosphere.  I  cannot  believe  it  possible  that  the 
Ch.  J.  can  vote  for  the  present  incumbent.  To  say  nothing  of  his 
denunciation  of  all  the  most  respectable  federalists ;  the  implacable 
hatred  and  persecution  of  this  man  and  his  father  of  the  memory  of 
Alexander  Hamilton  (the  best  and  ablest  man  of  his  party,  who 
basely  abandoned  him  for  old  Adams'  loaves  and  fishes),  would,  I  sup- 
pose, be  an  insuperable  obstacle  to  the  C.  J.'s  support  of  the  younger 
A.  When  I  say  the  best  and  ablest  of  his  party,  I  must  except 
the  Ch.  J.  himself,  who  surpassed  H.  in  moral  worth,  and  although 
not  his  equal  as  a  statesman,  in  point  of  capacity,  is  second  to  none. 
Hamilton  has  stood  very  high  in  my  estimation  ever  since  the  contest 
between  Burr  and  Jefferson ;  and  I  do  not  envy  a  certain  Ex.-P.  or 
your  predecessor,  the  glory  of  watching  his  stolen  visits  to  a  courtezan, 
and  disturbing  the  peace  of  his  family  by  their  informations.  I  have 
a  fellow-feeling  with  H.  He  was  the  victim  of  rancorous  enemies, 
who  always  prevail  over  lukewarm  friends.  He  died  because  he  pre- 
ferred death  to  the  slightest  shade  of  imputation  or  disgrace.  He  was 
not  suited  to  the  country,  or  the  times ;  and  if  he  lived  now,  might 
be  admired  by  a  few,  but  would  be  thrust  aside  to  make  room  for  any 
fat-headed  demagogue,  or  dextrous  intriguer.  His  conduct,  too,  on 
the  acquisition  of  Louisiana,  proved  how  superior  he  was  to  the  Otises 
and  Quincys,  and  the  whole  run  of  Yankee  federalists. 

Yours  are  the  only  letters  that  1  receive  from  Richmond — the 
one  mentioned  yesterday,  from  the  Ch.  J.,  excepted.  Indeed  I  have 
had  but  three  others ;  one  from  Mr.  Leigh,  and  two  from  Barksdale. 
It  is  now  snowing  fast,  and  I  fear  that  I  shall  be  detained  here  much 
longer  than   I  could  wish.     I  left  the  House   yesterday,  after  an 


ELECTION  TO  THE  HOUSE  OF  REPRESENTATIVES.       297 

hour's  stay  in  it,  and.  as  I  finished  my  ride,  I  saw  the  flag  waving 
over  the  Hall  of  the  Representatives.  I  thought  what  fools  men 
were,  to  be  there  listening  to  jackanapes,  and  what  fools  we,  the  people, 
were,  to  submit  to  their  rule.     I  must  get  away,  or  die  outright. 

Washington,  Wednesday.  Dec.  26.  1827. 

My  Dear.  Friend, — Your  letter,  too,  looks  a  little  more  like 
"  past  times  "  thaD  those  which  I  have  received  from  you  of  late.  I 
wonder  that  you  should  be  at  a  loss  for  something  to  write  about,  for 
Mr.  Speaker,  whom  I  saw  some  days  ago  for  a  single  minute,  related 
to  me  that  you  had  given  a  splendid  party ;  for  so  I  interpreted  the 
word  fandango,  used  by  him. 

But  for  a  visit  last  evening  from  Frank  Key,  who  came  and  sat 
about  three  hours  with  me,  yesterday  would  have  been  the  dullest 
Christmas  day  that  I  can  recollect.  We  want  a  synonym  for  the 
French  triste.  I  was  invited  to  dine,  enfamille.  with  Mr.  Hamilton, 
of  South  Carolina,  but  the  day  was  so  particularly  detestable,  that  I 
could  not  stir  abroad.  The  Pennsylvania  Avenue  is  a  long  lake  of 
mud.  I  go  nowhere,  and  see  nobody  but  Mr.  Macon.  He  is  so  deaf 
that  he  picks  up  none  of  the  floating  small  trash  in  the  Senate,  and  I 
am  hard  put  to  it  to  make  him  hear  my  hoarse  whispers. 

I  understood  the  whole  matter  of  Mr.  H.,  of  Kentucky,  and  the 
"  very  great  man,"  and  I  readily  comprehended  the  lady's  scruples ; 
one,  especially,  that  was  to  be  looked  for  in  a  female  of  delicacy  and 
right  feeling  ;  for  I  have  felt,  and  I  do  feel  the  same,  myself.  But 
there  is  no  alternative. 

You  say  that  ';  all  the  world  are  amazed  how  the  devil  I  know 
every  thing  before  any  body  else."  I  got  that  piece  of  information 
from  Lynchburg,  a  long  while  ago,  through  my  silent,  discreet  friend, 
W.  L.,  who,  I  verily  believe,  never  mentioned  it  to  any  body  else, 
but,  as  the  Waverly  man  says,  "kept  a  calm  sough."  I  have  paid 
more  money  of  my  own  for  intelligence  than,  I  believe,  any  other 
public  man  living ;  but  this  came  gratis.  Apropos  to  the  Waverly 
man.  His  last  work  (Canongate)  is  beneath  contempt.  The  mask 
is  off,  and  he  stands  confessed  a  threadbare  jester,  repeating  his  worn- 
out  stories.  I  wish  that  some  one  would  take  pen  in  hand,  and  abolish 
him  quite.     It  might  be  easily  done. 

I  pray  you  write  to  me  as  often  and  as  fully  as  you  can.  I  have 
no  other  epistolary  aliment,  except  from  Harry  Tucker.     God  bless 

you  both. 

My  most  respectful  and  friendly  regards  to  Mr.  Wickham.  when- 
ever you  see  him.     He  has  won  upon  my  esteem.     I  made  the  very 

same  remark  upon  the  Ch.   J ;s  dignified  and  simple  manners, 

that  evening,  that  Mrs.  B.  did.  Pray  tell  him  that  I  hope  soon  to 
see  him  here. 


298  LIFE  °F  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 


CHAPTER    XXXVI. 

LEADER  OF   THE   OPPOSITION — A   WISE  AND   MASTERLY 

INACTIVITY. 

Mr.  Randolph's  opposition  commenced  with  the  administration. 
His  objection  was  not  confined  to  the  measures,  but  extended  to  the 
men — the  principles  they  avowed — and  the  manner  in  which  they 
came  into  power.  In  his  judgment  they  were  condemned  in  the  be- 
ginning, and  it  was  folly  to  wait  to  strike  the  first  blow  until  they 
could  safely  intrench  themselves  behind  the  walls  of  patronage,  and 
the  well  furnished  batteries  of  a  pensioned  press.  Like  a  skilful 
leader,  he  dashed  at  once  on  the  foe,  and  gave  him  a  stunning  and 
fatal  blow,  ere  he  was  aware  of  the  near  approach  of  an  enemy.  Two 
years  ago,  in  the  Senate,  we  observed  his  bold  and  vigorous  onset ; 
and  now,  in  another  field,  his  charges  on  the  intrenchments  of  the 
enemy  are  still  more  fearless  and  effective.  "  I  shall  carry  the  war 
into  Africa,"  said  he,  "  Delenda  est  Carthago  !  I  shall  not  be  con- 
tent with  merely  parrying.  No,  Sir,  if  I  can — so  help  me  God  ! — I 
will  thrust  also  ;  because  my  right  arm  is  nerved  by  the  cause  of  the 
people  and  of  my  country." 

It  was  conceded,  on  all  hands,  that  he  was  the  leader  of  the  op- 
position in  Congress. 

A  member  from  Ohio,  in  responding  to  a  rhetorical  inquiry  pro- 
pounded by  himself — "  Who  is  it  that  manifested  this  feeling  of  pro- 
scription towards  us  and  our  posterity  ?"  answered,  '  Sir,  it  is  the 
man  who  is  now  at  the  head  of  the  opposition  to  this  administration  ; 
it  is  the  man  who  was  placed  by  you,  Sir,  at  the  head  of  the  principal 
committee  of  this  House.  Yes,  Sir,  he  was  placed  there  by  aid  of 
the  vote  of  the  very  people  that  he  has  derided  and  abused ;  and  if 
ill  health  had  not  prevented,  would  have  been  in  that  exalted  station. 
It  is  the  man  that  is  entitled  to  more  credit — if  it  is  right  that  this 
administration  should  go  down — for  his  efficiency  in  effecting  that  ob- 
ject, than  any  three  men  in  this  nation.  This  is  not  a  hasty  opinion 
of  mine;  it  is  one  long  held,  and  often  expressed.  I  have  been  an 
attentive  observer  of  his  course  ever  since  the  first  organization  of 
the  party  to  which  he  belongs.     From  the  moment  he  took  his  seat 


LEADER  OF  THE  OPPOSITION.  299 

in  the  other  branch  of  the  legislature,  he  became  the  great  rallying 
officer  of  the  South.  Our  southern  brethren  were  made  to  believe 
that  we,  of  the  North,  were  political  fiends,  ready  to  oppress  them 
with  heavy  and  onerous  duties,  and  even  willing  to  destroy  that 
property  they  held  most  sacred.  Sir,  these  are  not  exaggerated 
statements  relative  to  the  course  of  this  distinguished  individual. 
He  is  certainly  the  ablest  political  recruiting  sergeant  that  has  been 
in  this  or  any  other  country." 

Another  member  "  considered  him  the  commanding  general  of 
the  opposition  force,  and  occupying  the  position  of  a  commander,  in 
the  rear  of  his  troops,  controlling  their  movements ;  issuing  his 
orders  :  directing  one  subaltern  where  and  how  to  move  his  forces ; 
admonishing  another  to  due  and  proper  caution,  and  to  follow  his 
leader ;  nodding  approbation  to  a  third,  and  prompting  him  to  ex- 
traordinary exertion ;  examples  of  which  he  has  given  us  in  this 
debate." 

Mr.  Randolph  was  eminently  fitted  to  be  the  leader  of  the  repub- 
lican party,  at  this  time.  The  time-serving  policy,  and  the  ';  cen- 
tripetal "  tendency  of  the  last  twelve  or  fifteen  years,  had  utterly 
obliterated  all  traces  of  its  former  existence.  The  old  principles  that 
constituted  it,  were  effaced  from  the  memory.  He  was  the  "  Old 
Mortality,"  whose  sharp  chisel  could  retrace  the  lines  on  the  whited 
sepulchres,  and  bring  them  out  in  bold  relief,  in  all  their  original 
strength  and  freshness.  His  was  the  prophet's  voice,  to  &tir  the  dry 
bones  in  the  valley. 

In  the  first  place,  he  was  purely  disinterested.  He  filled  the  sta- 
tion assigned  him  by  his  beloved  constituents  ;  his  ambition  extended 
not  beyond.  His  age,  his  wretched  health,  and  "  churchyard  cough." 
admonished  him  that  he  might  not  live  to  witness  the  triumph  of  his 
cause.  None  but  the  most  uncharitable  could  suspect  his  motives,  or 
doubt  that  his  right  arm  was  nerved  by  the  cause  of  the  people  and 
of  his  country.  The  history  of  all  nations,  and  of  their  governments, 
was  well  known  to  him ;  the  causes  of  their  rise,  progress,  and  de- 
cline, were  thoroughly  studied  and  digested.  He  knew  the  Consti- 
tution of  his  own  country — its  strength,  its  weakness,  and  the  dangers 
that  beset  it.  Possessing  a  thorough  acquaintance  with  human 
character,  and  a  keen  insight  into  the  motives  of  individuals,  he  was 
familiai'  with  the  history,  both  public  and  private,  of  every  prominent 


800  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

man  connected  with  the  Government.  Nothing  escaped  his  observa- 
tion. No  "  Senior  Falconi "  could  work  the  wires  in  his  presence, 
without  being  detected  and  exposed.  He  possessed  a  fearless  spirit, 
that  dared  to  look  at  the  naked  truth — to  confront  it  boldly,  and  to 
speak  to  it. 

He  called  things  by  their  right  names ;  he  called  a  spade  a  spade, 
offend  whom  it  might.  His  mind  was  untrammelled  by  professional 
habits :  nor  was  it  fettered  to  the  narrow  round  of  an  inferior  trade. 
His  comprehensive  genius,  with  a  free  and  fearless  spirit,  travelled 
over  every  field  of  knowledge,  and  appropriated  to  itself  the  richest 
fruits  of  ancient  and  modern  lore.  While  others  were  poring  over 
their  books,  or  plodding  through  a  labored  and  methodical  speech, 
striving  by  a  slow  inductive  process  to  arrive  at  their  conclusion,  he, 
with  a  comprehensive  glance  surveyed  the  whole  field,  and  by  an  in- 
tuitive perception  leapt  to  the  conclusion  without  an  apparent  effort. 
No  man  more  completely  fulfilled  his  own  beautiful  fable  of  the  cat- 
erpillar and  the  huntsman.  "  A  caterpillar  comes  to  a  fence ;  he 
crawls  to  the  bottom  of  the  ditch,  and  over  the  fence  ;  some  one  of  his 
hundred  feet  always  in  contact  with  the  object  upon  which  he  moves  : 
a  gallant  horseman,  at  a  flying  leap,  clears  both  ditch  and  fence. 
1  Stop  !'  says  the  caterpillar,  '  you  are  too  flighty,  you  want  connection 
and  continuity ;  it  took  me  an  hour  to  get  over ;  you  can't  be  as 
sure  as  I  am,  who  have  never  quitted  the  subject,  that  you  have  over- 
come the  difficulty,  and  are  fairly  over  the  fence.'  '  Thou  miserable 
reptile,'  replies  our  huntsman,  '  if,  like  you,  I  crawled  over  the  earth 
slowly  and  painfully,  should  I  ever  catch  a  fox,  or  be  any  thing  more 
than  a  wretched  caterpillar?'  "  With  these  qualities  of  head  and  of 
heart — a  profound  statesman,  a  ready  debater,  a  resolute  will,  pos- 
sessing the  spirit  of  command — he  was  eminently  fitted  to  be  the 
leader  of  a  great  party.  While  others  were  bewildered,  or  timidly 
waited  the  coming  of  events,  he  was  quick  to  perceive  and  prompt  to 
act. 

His  policy  during  the  present  session  was  a  toise  and  masterly  in- 
activity. The  administration  was  in  a  minority,  and  with  a  "  sar- 
donic sneer"  had  told  the  leaders  of  the  opposition  that  they  had  be- 
come "  responsible  for  the  measures  of  the  Government."  But  Mr. 
Randolph  urged  his  friends  to  do  nothing — stand  still  and  observe  a 
wise  and  masterly  inactivity.     He  often  used  that  expression  :  "  We 


LEADER  OF  THE  OPPOSITION.  301 

ought,"  said  he,  "  to  observe  that  practice  which  is  the  hardest  of  all, 
especially  for  young  physicians — we  ought  to  throw  in  no  medicine 
at  all — to  abstain — to  observe  a  wise  and  masterly  inactivity."  That 
was  not  only  his  policy  then,  but  at  all  times.  We  are  indebted  to 
him  for  a  political  maxim  that  embraces  the  whole  duty  of  an  Amer- 
ican statesman.  Let  the  Government  abstain  as  much  as  possible 
from  legislation  ;  interfere  not  at  all  with  individual  interests  ;  leave 
all  they  can  to  the  States,  and  to  the  boundless  energies  of  a  free  and 
enlightened  people.  In  a  word,  the  true  constitutional  spirit  of  the 
Federal  Government  would  prompt  it  at  all  times  (there  are  excep- 
tions of  course  to  all  rules)  to  observe  a  wise  and  masterly  inactivity ; 
it  would  fulfil  its  whole  duty  in  that.  Whither  would  the  contrary 
doctrine  of  the  men  then  in  power — that  Government  must  do  every 
thing — have  carried  us  1  to  what  a  condition  has  it  brought  the  na- 
tions of  Europe?  Let  their  enormous  standing  armies,  bankrupt 
treasuries,  irredeemable  national  debts,  wretched  and  impoverished 
people,  ansiver  the  question ! 

All  of  Mr.  llandolph's  speeches  during  the  present  session  were 
interesting  and  instructive.  Some  of  them  are  tolerably  fair  speci- 
mens of  his  style  of  thought  and  composition ;  especially  the  one  in 
answer  to  Mr.  Everett,  of  Massachusetts,  on  the  first  of  February, 
which  was  revised  by  himself  and  dedicated  to  his  constituents :  "  To 
my  constituents,  whose  confidence  and  love  have  impelled  and  sus- 
tained me  under  the  effort  of  making  it,  I  dedicate  this  speech." 

It  is  a  great  mistake  to  suppose  that  he  had  no  method  in  his  dis- 
course. His  was  not  a  succession  of  loose  thoughts  and  observations 
strung  together  by  the  commonplace  rules  of  association,  but  the  pro- 
found method  of  a  mind  of  genius,  that  looked  into  the  very  heart  of 
a  subject,  and  drew  forth  the  laio  of  association  by  which  its  ideas  are 
bound  together  in  an  adamantine  chain  of  cause  and  effect.  Like  the 
musician  who  draws  from  a  simple  ballad  an  infinite  variety  of  har- 
monies, in  all  of  which  may  be  traced  the  elements  of  the  original 
song — so,  Randolph,  in  his  speeches,  expanded  the  original  thought 
into  a  rich  and  copious  variety ;  but  every  illustration  was  suggested 
by  the  subject :  each  episode  tended  to  accomplish  the  purpose  he 
had  in  view.  Let  the  following  extract  from  the  speech  now  under 
consideration,  suffice  as  a  specimen  of  his  large  acquaintance  with 
history  :  profound   knowledge  of  human  character ;  his  copiousness 


302  LIFE  OF  JOHN  RANDOLPH. 

of  illustration,  and  the  rapidity,  beauty,  strength,  and  purity  of  his 
style.  After  reviewing  the  observations  of  other  speakers  that 
had  gone  before  him,  suggested  by  a  former  speech  of  his,  he 
conies  directly  to  the  subject  in  hand — the  unfitness  of  the  present 
rulers :  we  wanted  statesmen  who  could  wisely  direct  the  helm  of 
State,  and  not  orators  to  make  speeches,  or  logicians  to  write  books : 

Sir,  said  he,  I  deny  that  there  is  any  instance  on  record,  in 
history,  of  a  man  not  having  military  capacity,  being  at  the  head  of 
any  Government  with  advantage  to  that  Government,  and  with  credit 
to  himself.  There  is  a  great  mistake  on  this  subject.  It  is  not  those 
talents  which  enable  a  man  to  write  books  and  make  speeches,  that 
qualify  him  to  preside  over  a  Government.  The  wittiest  of  poets  has 
told  us  that 

"  All  a  rhetorician's  rules 
Teach  only  how  to  name  his  tools." 

We  have  seen  professors  of  rhetoric,  who  could  no  doubt  descant  flu- 
ently upon  the  use  of  these  said  tools,  yet  sharpen  them  to  so  wiry  an 
edge  as  to  cut  their  own  fingers  with  these  implements  of  their  trade. 
Thomas  a  Becket  was  as  brave  a  man  as  Henry  the  Second,  and,  in- 
deed, a  braver  man — less  infirm  of  purpose.  And  who  were  the  Hil- 
debrands.  and  the  rest  of  the  papal  freebooters,  who  achieved  victory 
after  victory  over  the  proudest  monarchs  and  States  of  Christendom? 
These  men  were  brought  up  in  a  cloister,  perhaps,  but  they  were  en- 
dowed with  that  highest  of  all  gifts  of  Heaven,  the  capacity  to  lead 
men,  whether  in  the  Senate  or  in  the  field.  Sir,  it  is  one  and  the 
same  faculty,  and  its  successful  display  has  always  received,  and  al- 
ways will  receive,  the  highest  honors  that  man  can  bestow  :  and  this 
will  be  the  case,  do  what  you  will,  cant  what  you  may  about  military 
chieftains  and  military  domination  So  long  as  man  is  man,  the  vic- 
torious defender  of  his  country  will,  and  ought  to  receive,  that  coun- 
try's suffrage  for  all  that  the  forms  of  her  government  allow  her  to 
give. 

A  friend  said  to  me  not  long  since:  "Why,  General  Jackson 
can't  write.'  "Admitted."  (Pray,  Sir,  can  you  tell  me  of  any  one 
that  can  write?  for,  I  protest,